Albert Einstein’s Most Profound Thoughts Outside Science — Life, Nukes, God

Albert Einstein is celebrated as one of the smartest men to have ever walked the earth, revolutionizing science with his contributions to theoretical physics. Einstein put in place the theory of relativity, and posited that space and time are connected. However, Albert Einstein had many profound thoughts outside the realm of science.

Einstein was a man of surprisingly few words, but it didn’t take many for him to relay some profound thoughts about humanity’s place in the universe and the meaning of life. Many of Einstein’s personal beliefs have been up for debate, but a small collection of preserved letters written by Einstein himself clear up most misconceptions.

Forbes recently published an article about what Albert Einstein thought made life worth living, using a short letter he wrote in response to a man named Mr. Anthes for reference. According to this letter written in 1951, Albert Einstein believed life was made worthwhile by the few people fighting for what is right.

“I was really moved by your letter. It is true that the number of people striving ardently for the right and the worthwhile things is small. But the existence of these few is what makes life worthwhile.”

Einstein on life
Einstein’s 1951 letter discussing what makes life worthwhile.

Thanks to the Einstein Papers Project put together by Caltech, Princeton, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, many of Albert Einstein’s letters, such as this one, are archived for public viewing.

Einstein’s views on nuclear weapons were just as simple and just as chillingly-profound. Despite the bad reputation of science’s affiliation with nuclear weapons, Albert Einstein was clearly not a fan of the weapons of mass destruction. In a 1950 letter to a Mr. Walter Bishop, Einstein said the following.

“I have tried repeatedly to teach reason as long as the passions were not so hot as they are now. I think the people will have to learn the hard way; I mean those of them who will survive.”

Perhaps the most shocking of Einstein’s letters was a response he wrote to the philosopher Erik Gutkind on the topic of God. While Einstein’s views on God have been hotly disputed, his own words in this letter settle the debate once and for all.

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me.”

What do you think about Einstein’s opinions? Do Albert Einstein’s words still matter?