Einstein on spirituality, the soul and the universe


Recently I attended a talk by Douglas Stone, the author of Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian.  It looks like a very good book.  I’ve only had a chance to skim through it, but I plan to read it carefully in the near future.  Quantum theory has been a fascination of mine for many decades.

During the discussion of the book, the question of Einstein’s ideas about spirituality came up in the context of his famous quote about God not playing dice with the universe.  The author mentioned a letter in which a Viennese woman, Lily Halpern-Neuda, asked Einstein for his view of the spiritual world and the immortal soul.  Here is Einstein’s reply:

Berlin, 5 February 1921

Esteemed Madam,

You did not approach the right man. Only he who has renounced the questions you posed becomes a researcher in the exact sciences… Natural science only deals with physical events, and the spiritual only insofar as it is connected with the physical. Whether this connection is complete we cannot know. But I do believe this on the basis of our incomplete experience of the relations governing here. We have no reason to believe in the spiritual independent of physical reality; and I find such belief—because it signifies a voluntary abstention from scientific apprehension—ugly and unworthy of a strong human being.

It seems to me that the conception of a soul without a body is empty and meaningless.  Let us be glad that the division of organic life into individuals is tempered by death and procreation.

In utmost respect, Albert Einstein

Can we see his apparent  espousal of divergent views (‘God does not play dice with the universe’ vs. ‘the conception of a soul without a body is empty and meaningless’) in Einstein’s birth chart?  Fortunately, we have an accurate birth time.

Albert Einstein birth chart, Placidus Houses, tropical zodiac.  Rodden rating AA.

Albert Einstein birth chart, Placidus Houses, tropical zodiac. Rodden rating AA.

Einstein has his natal Sun in Pisces, a “spiritual” sign.  His Pisces Sun is disposed by Jupiter, which lies in scientific Aquarius in the 9th of philosophy and religion. He may have the typical Piscean interest in spiritual matters but he approaches them from a rational, scientific Aquarian stance.  His novel and ingenious way of viewing philosophical and religious matters is closely tied to spontaneous Uranus, which opposes Jupiter from the 3rd house.  Uranus lies in the earth sign Virgo in the 3rd house of the mind, suggesting that his innovative thinking is grounded in empirical reality.

The houses most commonly associated with spirituality are the 9th and the 12th, each of which has a mental air sign on the cusp.  The 9th ruler Saturn lies in Aries (its fall) in the 10th.  Saturn is a planet of harsh reality and is unlikely to get caught up in airy-fairy spiritualist beliefs.  Mercury rules the 12th and also lies in valiant Aries where it conjoins Saturn.  This is an aspect of a hard scientist who relies on reason and empirical proof.  Aries is an assertive, no-nonsense sign which does not suffer fools gladly.

It is rather fascinating to see how Einstein’s views about spirituality are grounded in his natal chart.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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4 Responses to Einstein on spirituality, the soul and the universe

  1. Paul Greene says:

    Interesting, and not at all surprising. I have one question, though. The letter you reproduce here, is this the entire letter or only part of it. According to Dukas and Hoffman, the 5 February 1921 letter includes a passage where he comments on the “rampant growth” of Theosophy and Spirituality. I would appreciate if you could share with us/me your source. Thank you.

  2. Paul Greene says:

    The reason form my inquiry is that from your article I could not tell if this is a direct reproduction from the book you mention.

  3. Paul Greene says:

    This is a fragment of that 5 February, 1921 letter according to various sources:

    “The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion.

    Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.”

    As you can see, even the part that seems to be identical is not actually completely identical. There are though other significant differences.

  4. jan smith says:

    You are always a voice of sanity! A rare thing in astrology
    Dont miss the doco Enistein in the Holy Land (2015)

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