Create! The Tao of Einstein

I've been asked by several people if I plan to write another book. The answer is yes, and it's under way.

But this project isn't like the Appalachian Trail book, which could best be described as creative nonfiction. This project, called "The Tao of Einstein," will result in 81 verses, similar to the original Tao te Ching.

What the Tao!?

So what is the Tao? Only a fool would try to provide an explanation, teaches Lao Tzu, the legendary author of the Tao te Ching. The best you can do is point to its fruits and mysterious workings when trying to describe it. In 81 verses, Lao Tzu paints a broad picture of what the Tao is and isn't, how a follower of the Tao might behave, and how leaders and nations centered in the Tao would function.

What's clear is that the Tao is to be perceived as a fundamental law of nature, similar to gravity or electromagnetism. In the way that electromagnetism describes the interactions of electric and magnetic fields, the Tao describes manifestation, or creation itself.

What is manifestation? Manifestation is how events, objects, and actions come into being. Getting offered a new job is an act of manifestation, as is war and pestilence. According to Lao Tzu, these events appear into our physical reality according to the laws of the Tao.

By understanding the Tao, the student can consciously begin participating in the natural act of manifestation. But Lao Tzu teaches his students it's best not to interfere and to let events take their own course. Just do your work and step back. But if you must, use it in a way that aligns with the Tao.

Was Einstein a Taoist?

Einstein was not a Taoist. But he did, at times, live his life in accord with the Tao. And his belief in a harmonious order underpinning reality is Taoist to the core. Not only does his life exemplify some of the teachings of the Tao te Ching, but so does his science.

Einstein sought communion with the divine through contemplation. This is the path of mystics throughout the ages. Mystics of all religious backgrounds, of course, imbibe from the same wellspring.

Einstein just happened to believe that God, or the Old One, as he referred to it, was a part of nature. This is a philosophy he adopted from the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

In response to an inquiry from Rabbi Goldstein in 1929, Einstein clarified his beliefs:

I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

In Spinoza's mind, God didn't create the world and wasn't a being at all. God was more like the substrate through which at else emerged. So to Einstein, the orderly and harmonious physical laws of nature were God. By understanding nature, he could begin to understand God.

When discussing possible solutions to his Unified Field Theory, his unsuccessful theory of everything that consumed the latter half of his life, he'd repeatedly ask his research assistants: "What would God have done?"

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N. B. Hankes

N. B. Hankes

Founder and best selling author of "Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail."
Humboldt County, California