What I find fascinating about the conversation between Einstein and Tagore (see http://wp.me/p6Hoh2-4l) is that it unveils the men’s philosophies about god-consciousness – as I will call it – referred to simpy as ‘truth’ in the conversation. On a side note, I tried to do a quick search on Enstein’s views on God, and I was surprised to see some claim that Einstein did not believe in God. I think this is inaccurate.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind…” to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein (1929) (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/35917-i-believe-in-spinoza-s-god-who-reveals-himself-in-the). So Einstein wasn’t a fan of a monotheistic personal God with human-like passions and judgments.
And who or what is Spinoza’s God? Baruch Spinoza says, “[b]y God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of an infinity of attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/)
The conversation between Einstein and Tagore begins right away with the question of whether god-consciousness or truth exists independent of human consciousness.
EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the divine isolated from the world?
TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of man comprehends the universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the universe is human truth.
. . .
EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or beauty, is not independent of man?
TAGORE: No, I do not say so.
. . .
EINSTEIN: I agree with this conception of beauty, but not with regard to truth.
TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through men.
EINSTEIN: I cannot prove my conception is right, but that is my religion.
TAGORE: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony, which is in the universal being; truth is the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.
. . .
EINSTEIN: . . .The problem is whether truth is independent of our consciousness.
. . .
TAGORE: In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing.
EINSTEIN: Then I am more religious than you are!
TAGORE: My religion is in the reconciliation of the superpersonal man, the universal spirit, in my own individual being.
According to Tagore, “truth is the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.” Einstein doesn’t dispute the existence of a universal mind. However, he counters with that “[t]he problem is whether truth is independent of our consciousness.” And Tagore’s position is that “if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing.”
Where is truth – the universal mind – or god-consciousness? Is it separate and independent of man, or is it necessarily one and in unity with man? I am fascinated with Tagore’s interpretation. But I can also see why Einstein is in disagreement with Tagore – because perhaps Tagore’s god is too much of a personal god? That is, are we all gods if we claim that truth or god consciousness is not independent of man?
Both men seem to agree that there is a universal being, a universal mind, an infinity. Is this infinity one and the same as us? I love this idea. At the same time, I think that if I were to claim that I am god would be like saying that the egg is the chicken or that the seed is the tree. Although I must also add that no one has been able to determine which came first!