Becoming a Freethinker and a Scientist

Religious Concepts


The Meaning of Life

Purpose in Nature

The Soul

On Ego, Consciousness, and “Eternal Life”


No Personal God

Short Comments on God


Science and Religion

The Mysterious

The Religiousness of Science

The Development of Religion

Science and Religion

Religion and Science: Irreconcilable?

A Conversation with Gustav Bucky

Short Comments on Religion


Morals and Emotions

On Good and Evil


The World As I See It

My Credo

Einstein's Faith

Short Comments on Einstein's Faith

Spinoza and Einstein

Einstein's Last Thoughts


Belief Breeds Intolerance

Miscellaneous Comments


Web einsteinandreligion.com

The mind is eternal in so far as it conceives things under the form of eternity.

quoted by Goldman p. 82. See Goldman for the reference and a discussion.

On Ego, Consciousness, and “Eternal Life”

For further quotations on these topics, see Einstein's comments on the soul.

It is a good thing that this individual life has an end with all its conflicts and problems. … Those who brought about the belief that the individual continues to live after death must have been very sorry people indeed.

— From a letter of condolence upon the death of Einstein's brother-in-law. See Goldman, p.89.

… nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death ; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life … (clearly Einstein means here the eternity of life as a whole, rather than the life of an individual - ed.)

— See Goldman, footnote p.93.

I believe the mind is immortal in the same sense as the body for it is difficult to doubt that the capacity to build living bodies and consciousness is connected with matter. But I see no justification to extend personality beyond the span of life of the individual. (Goldman sees a change in tone between this quotation and the preceding one; but I find each quotation consistent with the other. - ed.)

— See Goldman, footnote pp. 92 - 93.

On Consciousness

We know consciousness as the essential part of our ego and by analogy as the essential part of other egos. The poverty of our expression does not show us more of it. We can only guess and even this guessing does not have a clear meaning to our thought. There seems to be no other attitude than humility and modesty. The only thing I am feeling strongly about is: It seems foolish to extend our personality beyond our life in both directions and we do not know what consciousness means outside the frame of the personality.

— See Goldman, p.91.

On the Ego

The fact that man produces a concept "I" besides the totality of his mental and emotional experiences or perceptions does not prove that there must be any specific existence behind such a concept. We are succumbing to illusions produced by our self-created language, without reaching a better understanding of anything. Most of so-called philosophy is due to this kind of fallacy.

— See Goldman, p.89.

Einstein's conclusion here seems very close to the Buddha's concept of anatman. But as Einstein wrote:

The more deeply philosophical doctrines, as far as questions of existence are concerned, are thought about, the less different they are from each other.

See Goldman p. 87. - the ed.