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This article appears in the May 15, 2015 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Albert Einstein's God

by Tony Papert

[PDF version of this article]

1. Prolog in Heaven

On a recent evening (May 5), the great American economist and philosopher Lyndon LaRouche discussed with some friends, including myself, the Galactic Principle which is the subject of this May 15 EIR. As that evening's discussion was coming to a close, Lyn said that because the Galaxy controls everything with which we are familiar, the Galaxy itself is the closest thing to the God which we must worship.

For me, that brought me back to an old preoccupation with the question of the nature of Albert Einstein's religion. Einstein had clearly been a totally pious man, who devoted his whole mind and his whole heart to the service of God all the time, as the Bible commands,—but, in his case, certainly not because the Bible commanded it.

At the same time, it was clear that Einstein had never worshipped the gods which are commonly worshipped in this country,—one of the crimes for which Socrates was executed. Einstein obviously did not worship the god of the Bumper-Sticker or the Lapel-Pin. He did not worship the god of "Let the markets solve it," nor the god of "Be practical,"—which are actually demons rather than gods.

Who or what did he worship?

2. Solvay, 1927 A.D.

Naive graduate students believe that the intense faction-fights at the 1927 Solvay Conference (basically, a huge, coordinated attack against Einstein), were occasioned by abstruse issues in so-called Quantum Mechanics. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Indeed, how peculiar that anyone would choose to dispute Quantum Mechanics with Einstein, after he had singlehandedly invented the whole field quite on his own, in the face of skepticism even from Max Planck.)

Rather, Solvay 1927 was the setting for the very deliberate, "FBI-style" mental-spiritual brutalization of Einstein,—no matter the pretextual issues.

Now, Niels the Terrible Bore was a mental case out of Denmark, who was a crony of the British Empire's arch-villain Bertrand Russell. It was this Bohr, who was the Kapo who tried to butcher Einstein mentally at Solvay,—just as Hitler was soon to do physically to millions of Europeans,—and not only to Einstein's fellow Jews. Einstein himself, simply outright refused to sell out,—he would, and did, die before doing that, after at least a lifetime's-worth of the most terrible coercive pressure. But, under the intense coercion, almost every one of Einstein's friends worldwide, publicly repudiated him sooner or later. Mostly sooner. Shades of "McCarthyism!"

But, among the real men and women of science at Solvay, several refused to denounce Einstein. (All the eunuchs did, of course.) Although Max Planck was implicitly a target of the same attack, this was apparently never mentioned because of Planck's exalted status. Erwin Schrödinger, the discoverer of wave mechanics, was a prime target, but apparently refused to take the purge-trial seriously, in the belief that all his attackers were simply nuts,—which of course they were.

Indeed, a background in the history of the deadly faction-fights within the Socialist movement,—all fought out amidst the interventions of sundry police and intelligence agencies,—is a more important prerequisite for understanding the 1927 Solvay Conference than even the mathematics. The standard histories of the CPUSA, tell the story of a 1929 mission to Moscow by the leadership of that organization, then headed by Jay Lovestone. When their visit had been concluded, Lovestone and his friends found that they were somehow unable to leave Moscow. They could not get exit visas. They were trapped there, while Stalin picked them off one by one, and persuaded each of them to denounce Lovestone. At one point, he brought Lovestone and his few remaining holdouts to the Kremlin, to tell them, "When I'm done with you, only your wives will support you." And, indeed, once Stalin had made good on that threat, Lovestone was at last allowed to return to the USA,—where later he went to work for the FBI,—that is, unless he had been working for the FBI all along.

The most hilarious apostasy of Solvay was that of Louis de Broglie, the young French genius whose fame was that he had discovered that every particle is simultaneously a wave. Maybe it should be noted here, that this discovery of de Broglie's was no mere morning mushroom, sprung out of the positivistic-like outlooks which are encouraged in science today. Rather, de Broglie, like Einstein, Planck, Kepler, and every other scientist who has ever made a really significant discovery, was a very close student of all of the history of science and philosophy,—and from original sources, not from textbooks. "Why do we believe this? When and where could we have gone wrong?" Any real scientist always asks himself these questions. The so-called "history of science," is not some separate field, to be mined by "historians of science," who are not scientists. It is always an integral part of science itself.

Now, de Broglie arguably owed his scientific renown to Einstein. De Broglie had hit on his particle-wave hypothesis as a young man in Paris. De Broglie's PhD examiner, the famous physicist Paul Langevin, had asked Einstein's advice before accepting his 1924 dissertation. Einstein not only read and supported the dissertation, but also communicated its importance to other physicists,—just the sort of thing he was doing constantly. If not for that, de Broglie might have remained unknown for years, or forever.

At Solvay 1927, Bohr's and some others' slashing attacks against Einstein, and Einstein's attempts to defend himself, were all conducted in hotel dining-rooms and other informal settings, away from the stuffy and boring public sessions of the Conference. It was in these eateries and the like, that Bohr and his crew, acting for Bertrand Russell, day after day hammered away, wore down and peeled off layer after layer of Einstein's support. De Broglie was also at these informal sessions,—but he understood only French, while everyone spoke exclusively in either English or German. Therefore, de Broglie could not follow any of these heated discussions (allegedly about quantum mechanics), which pitted Bohr and others against Einstein. But that did not stop him from announcing his defection from Einstein shortly after the conference ended.

From all the reports available to me, one could conclude that Einstein and Bohr, respectively, arrived at the conference roughly with equal numbers of supporters on both sides. The number of those who didn't know, or didn't care, was probably greater than either group,—and one remembers where Dante placed these sorts of people in his Commedia.

Bohr left with greatly enhanced support, while Einstein left more or less as Jay Lovestone would leave Moscow. By the time Einstein had made it back to his home in Berlin, he was exhausted and subdued. But yet, the truth is still the truth if only one man believes it,—or if absolutely no one believes it,—as Einstein repeated precisely this watchword in myriad ways throughout his life. And no,—he had not abandoned the truth, nor would he ever.

3. Truth in Mathematics?

The obsession which maintains that the truths of science are to be found in mathematics, although it is axiomatic in the Boredom School of physics, is so evidently absurd that it is difficult to understand how any intelligent person could believe in it for half an hour. And looking at the question historically, no competent student doubts that Einstein had developed the General Relativity Theory years before he came upon the mathematics appropriate for General Relativity. Thus, provably, his discovery was not mathematical.

All that had been demanded of Einstein at Solvay, 1927 and later, was that he publicly repudiate causality, universality, order and the Good,—i.e., repudiate God. This is not to imply that causality+universality+order+the Good was Einstein's God. Not at all. They are only predicates, and we know that Einstein's personal theology was a negative one like that of Nicholas of Cusa and other divines,—of a God absolutely above and beyond all predicates. (Although there is a lot more to it than just that.) But,—it is indisputable nonetheless, that anyone who repudiates causality, universality, order and the Good,—has repudiated God.

To replace Him, in this case, with a mental illness which claims that mere mathematical models dictate their terms to reality,—that is, dictate their terms to God. And now, having understood this much, you can now recognize Einstein's anguished protest against this insanity, in many of his most widely-quoted statements,—statements ostensibly about God. This is the mental illness which Schrödinger immediately recognized in those who were trying to persecute himself and Einstein. But the insoluble problem in explaining any of this to most audiences today, is that their education has precisely drilled-and-grilled them to repeat back, and perhaps even to believe, that mathematical models somehow secretly govern everything in the world,—as what Lyndon LaRouche once called, "the little green men underneath the floor-boards."

This is the conceit of the wildly-popular 1999 movie "Matrix," by the Wachowski siblings.[1]

4. Conclusion

Max Born was a weasel who sold out at the first opportunity, and at every opportunity. He spent forty years writing letters to Einstein, begging, pleading and threatening him to abandon his principles and join Born in his moral sewer. For forty years, Einstein declined. Einstein, for his part, tried to win Born back to truth and morality,—but to no avail.

The pretext which Born used was a correspondence between their two wives. Born's wife was a real piece of work,—always ready to snap up any new yoga, or other occultism,—or, for that matter, any new recipe. Max Born encouraged her to share all of these fads with Einstein's wife (assuming that she needed any encouragement). And, because the letter from one wife to the other wife would cost the same postage-stamp anyway, the husbands would usually write their own letter and stick it into the same envelope.

In the end, it was Max Born who published this correspondence as a book. Why would he do this, since the correspondence simply demonstrates his, Born's absolute failure to make any progress towards his goal of corrupting Einstein? My conclusion is that he published the letters simply to show how hard he had tried. To show his masters,—Bertrand Russell probably the most important of them,—all the effort which Born had expended on their behalf,—even if in the end it achieved nothing.

Einstein was offered refuge in the United States, at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study. But the conditions offered to him were so restrictive, that he considered them equivalent to "prison." Einstein sought to renegotiate his contract, and succeeded in increasing his freedom to some extent.

At Princeton, Einstein was almost shunned for his unfashionable views, and actually took little part in scientific discourse in the United States, as amazing as that may sound. Among other wry remarks, he said, "The Jews consider me a saint. The Americans consider me a museum-piece. My colleagues consider me a mountebank."

Einstein's great joy at Princeton, was his daily walks with Kurt Gödel, the Austrian scientist who had publicly shattered Bertrand Russell's reputation by proving that Russell's fantasy of the axiomatization of arithmetic, in his Principia Mathematica, was impossible. If Einstein was "almost shunned" in the United States, then Gödel was actually shunned, as were his friends. The psychological quirks which some have gleefully discovered in Gödel, if there is any truth at all to those reports, may have stemmed from the severe persecution and punishment he suffered here.

Einstein's friend, Cornelius Lanczos, reports his death as follows.

"As the years passed by, the raging intellectual fire burned out his physical resources prematurely. Einstein always looked older than he actually was. More than once in his life he was desperately ill, but always with an apparently good chance of recovery. But in 1954 the rapid decline of his physical forces became alarmingly manifest. When, on April 15, 1955, he was transferred to the hospital of Princeton, he knew that no hope was left. In the morning of April 18 his life ended. He died with the same simplicity and humility with which he lived. Calmly and unperturbed, with no pathos, no sentimentality, no regret, he waited for the approaching death. 'Even in his death he showed us how to live,' were the words of his daughter Margot. 'Homo liber de nulla re minus quam de morte cogitat,' said the great Dutch philosopher Spinoza, whom Einstein held in particularly high esteem. 'The free man thinks of nothing less than of death.' Albert Einstein was a free man.

Are we now any closer to the answer to our question about the God of Albert Einstein? I think we are closer. I think we have come to glimpse the reality that God is only to be found where Einstein sought to find Him, in his mission, in his journey through the unitary combination of art, science, morality, and his sort of religion, all seen as one single Truth. No easy task, you reply? Perhaps not, "But," as Spinoza concluded his Ethics in 1675, "all noble things are as difficult as they are rare."

Further Reading:

  • Manjit Kumar, Quantum, W.W. Norton, 2011.—This is the best book I've found on what actually went on at Solvay, 1927.

  • Cornelius Lanczos, The Einstein Decade, Elek Science, London, 1974.—This precious book by a lifelong friend of Einstein, is full of material unavailable elsewhere. For only one example: Lanczos summarizes in English, every one of Einstein's numerous contributions to Annalen der Physik for 1905-15.

[1] The art of the Wachowskis, is artificial induction of psychosis. For more on this, see Louis A. Sass, Madness and Modernism, Basic Books, 1992.

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