3 6 D O C U M E N T 4 2 F E B R U A R Y 1 9 2 1
The mystical trend of our time, which especially reveals itself in the prolifera-
tion of so-called theosophy and spiritism, is for me just a symptom of weakness and
muddleheadedness. Because our spiritual experiences consist of reproductions and
combinations of sensory impressions, 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.
42. From Paul Ehrenfest
[Leyden,] 8 February 1921
Dear Einstein,
Please send this little rubbish to the Zeitschrift für Physik, provided that
(decently enough) even an ex-member of the German Physical Society can publish
Otherwise, send it please, as you see fit, to the Physikal. Zeitschrift or the Anna-
len (everything probably appears very slowly in the
Please pardon me for
bothering you with this. (My intention is absolutely not that you look through this
Not much news about us. My wife and children are well. Galinka has lately done
very nice things in sepia and India ink, but now she is up to her ears in oil painting
experiments and everything that comes out is full of charm and very subtle in that
She’s a remarkable little creature. Maybe it will be through her
that my existence will be legitimized yet.–
Van Aardenne came back from Davos yesterday as tanned as leather, very hale
from the
The Onneses are in Rapallo at the
Harm is supposed
to go to Java already at the beginning of

We are now resettled, together with the reading room, in the new cottage—
frightfully costly. I have a very pleasant office there—So I sit here the whole day
long undisturbed.—Despite a few superfluous extravagances, you’ll like it here
too. I’m just worriedly brooding about whether I will have to allow you (as the sole
exception!) to smoke in this cottage.—But we shall see.
I’m curious about whether I can get a passport. They are raising my hopes—oth-
erwise you are all going to go to Brussels and I’m going to have to stay behind in
Leyden “as punishment,” like a
That would depress me beyond words.—
But then, in any case, I’ll have you here afterwards.– If you like, you’ll give lectures
that only students who have already been studying for 2–3 years can follow.—We
can settle all the details later. I would be very pleased if you would talk about your
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