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About Albert Einstein



Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. Einstein developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).  Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.   Wikipedia

References:   Encyclopaedia Britannica   |   Biography.com

  

Albert Einstein (quotes)

Principles for living

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The pursuit of knowledge

  • Information is not knowledge.
  • The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
  • The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.
  • The only source of knowledge is experience.
  • We still do not know one-thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.
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The search for truth

  • A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.
  • If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
  • The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
  • The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
  • The search for truth is more precious than its possession.
  • Truth is what stands the test of experience.
  • Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
  • Whoever undertakes to set him or herself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.
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Solving problems

  • A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
  • If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
  • Intellectuals solve problems…. geniuses prevent them.
  • No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew.
  • One should never impose one’s views on a problem; one should rather study it, and in time a solution will reveal itself.
  • The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.
  • Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.
  • In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
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The need for new ways of thinking

  • The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
  • The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.
  • We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
  • We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. More than anything else, this new century demands new thinking: We must change our materially based analyses of the world around us to include broader, more multidimensional perspectives.
  • A great thought begins by seeing something differently, with a shift of the mind’s eye.
  • You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.
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Contemplating and comprehending …

  • Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.
  • One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.
  • There was this huge world out there, independent of us human beings and standing before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partly accessible to our inspection and thought. The contemplation of that world beckoned like a liberation.
  • I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
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… the laws of the universe

  • Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
  • I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details.
  • There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.
  • We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.
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Understanding

  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
  • If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.
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Creativity

  • Creativity is the residue of time wasted.
  • Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
  • I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
  • If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
  • The legs are the wheels of creativity.
  • The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
  • To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.
  • Creativity is intelligence having fun.
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The power of play

  • Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.
  • Play is the highest form of research.
  • To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.
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Wonder

  • He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead his eyes are closed.
  • I don’t try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
  • The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.
  • There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
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Mystery

  • The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.
  • The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out can.
  • The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion.
  • We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.
  • The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.
  • Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the descernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.
  • It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion.
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Simplicity

  • Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.
  • Everything should be as simple as possible but no simpler.
  • Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
  • Out of clutter find simplicity.
  • You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
  • God always takes the simplest way.
  • It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.
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Love and devotion to a cause

  • Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.
  • Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person.
  • Love is a better teacher than duty.
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Clear thinking

  • A great thought begins by seeing something differently, with a shift of the mind’s eye.
  • All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.
  • Although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head.
  • Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.
  • Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
  • We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
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Curiosity

  • Curiosity has its own reason for existence.
  • I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
  • I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self- criticism, have brought me to my ideas.
  • It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
  • It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.
  • Never lose a holy curiosity.
  • I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion.
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Questioning

  • It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
  • The important thing is to not stop questioning.
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Philosophy and reason

  • I would not think that philosophy and reason themselves will be man’s guide in the foreseeable future; however, they will remain the most beautiful sanctuary they have always been for the select few.
  • The man of science is a poor philosopher.
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Intuition

  • A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way, but intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.
  • I believe in intuition and inspiration.
  • The only real valuable thing is intuition.
  • I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.
  • The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
  • There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.
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Imagination …

  • I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
  • Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
  • Imagination is the most powerful force in the universe.
  • In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts.
  • Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
  • When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
  • If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.
  • The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you, and you don’t know how or why.
  • The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
  • To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires a creative imagination and marks the real advances in science.
  • I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
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… as a compliment to rational thinking

  • I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.
  • Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure.
  • I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards.
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Making mistakes

  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
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Possibility

  • Most people see what is, and never see what can be.
  • Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.
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Trust

  • Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.
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Giving and service to others

  • A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labor of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
  • It is ever man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
  • It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service.
  • Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
  • Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men — above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.
  • The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.
  • The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.  Life is sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value, to which all other values are subordinate.
  • Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
  • The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
  • Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
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The importance of morals and ethics

  • I do not believe that a moral philosophy can ever be founded on a scientific basis. … The valuation of life and all its nobler expressions can only come out of the soul’s yearning toward its own destiny. Every attempt to reduce ethics to scientific formulas must fail. Of that I am perfectly convinced.
  • A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees.
  • If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
  • Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.
  • Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgements of all kinds remain necessary.
  • The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.
  • Without ‘ethical culture’ there is no salvation for humanity.
  • True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
  • Morality is of the highest importance – but for us, not for God.
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Speaking out against wrongs

  • The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
  • The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.
  • The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.
  • If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.
  • What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.
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Compassion

  • Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
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The sacredness of life

  • Life is sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value, to which all other values are subordinate.
  • The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
  • The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.
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Vegetarianism

  • It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.
  • Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
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Unity

  • It is a magnificent feeling to recognize the unity of complex phenomena which appear to be things quite apart from the direct visible truth.
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Staying young at heart

  • Do not grow old, no matter how long you live.
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Harmony

  • In art, and in the higher ranges of science, there is a feeling of harmony which underlies all endeavor. There is no true greatness in art or science without that sense of harmony.
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Nature

  • Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
  • What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of “humility.” This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
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Realising we are not separate

  • A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
  • The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.
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Music

  • If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.
  • Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe.
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Travel

  • I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.
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Momentum

  • Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
  • Nothing happens until something moves.
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Simple living

  • Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.
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Responsibility

  • Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.
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Being

  • There are moments when one feels free from one’s own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments, one imagines that one stands on some small spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable: life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only being.
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Things that can limit us

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Authority and tyranny

  • To punish me for my contempt for authority fate made me an authority myself.
  • A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.
  • Force always attracts men of low morality.
  • The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.
  • Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
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Patriotism and nationalism

  • This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!”
  • With all my heart I believe that the world’s present system of sovereign nations can only lead to barbarism, war and inhumanity, and that only world law can assure progress towards a civilized peaceful community.
  • Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
  • He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.
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War

  • It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
  • I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
  • You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
  • I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.
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Prejudice

  • Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
  • Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social enviroment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
  • It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom.
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Stupidity

  • Two things are infinite, as far as we know – the universe and human stupidity.
  • The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
  • Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity and I’m not certain about the universe.
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Arrogance

  • Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive, but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment, which may become injurious for the individual and for the community.
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Idleness

  • Man, like every other animal, is by nature indolent. If nothing spurs him on, then he will hardly think, and will behave from habit like an automaton.
  • The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest.
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Conformity

  • In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.
  • It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.
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Thoughts on criticism and disapproval

  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
  • I do receive much criticism from the outside world…but this does not really touch me because I feel that these people do not live in the same world as I do.
  • It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.
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Thoughts on …

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Past, present, future

  • Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.
  • Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
  • People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between the past, the present and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
  • I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.
  • Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today’s events.
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Technology

  • All our lauded technological progress — our very civilization – is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.
  • It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
  • The human spirit must prevail over technology.
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Happiness

  • If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
  • We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life. All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
  • Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig.
  • Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men — above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.
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Free will

  • Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.
  • It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,“we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.
  • Honestly, I cannot understand what people mean when they talk about the freedom of the human will. I have a feeling, for instance, that I will something or other; but what relation this has with freedom I cannot understand at all. I feel that I will to light my pipe and I do it; but how can I connect this up with the idea of freedom? What is behind the act of willing to light the pipe?
  • Another act of willing? Schopenhauer once said: “Man can do what he will but he cannot will what he wills.”
  • Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.
  • I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. . . I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him.
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Time

  • The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
  • Time is an illusion.
  • Time is invented to make motion look simple.
  • I have just got a new theory of eternity.
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Education and learning

  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
  • I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
  • Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.
  • It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
  • It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education is a liberal arts college is not learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.
  • It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
  • One had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.
  • Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as hard duty. Never regard study as duty but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.
  • The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
  • Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
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Religion ….

  • Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth. What humanity own to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the of the inquiring constructive mind.
  • I am a deeply religious nonbeliever — this is a somewhat new kind of religion.
  • It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion.
  • My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
  • The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.
  • Thus, I came…to a deep religiosity, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of 12. Through the reading of popular scientific books, I soon reached a conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true…. Suspicion against every kind of authority grew out of this experience…an attitude which has never left me.
  • True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
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… and religion verse science

  • Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
  • It is this mythical, or rather symbolic, content of the religious traditions which is likely to come into conflict with science. This occurs whenever this religious stock of ideas contains dogmatically fixed statements on subjects which belong in the domain of science.
  • All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
  • Science can only determine what is, but not what shall be, and beyond its realm, value judgements remain indispensable. Religion, on the other hand, is concerned only with evaluating human thought and actions; it is not qualified to speak of real facts and the relationships between them.
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God

  • God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.
  • God does not play dice with the universe.
  • God is a mystery. But a comprehensible mystery. I have nothing but awe when I observe the laws of nature. There are not laws without a lawgiver, but how does this lawgiver look? Certainly not like a man magnified.
  • I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation.
  • I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty.
  • I don’t try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.  Albert, I am a deeply religious nonbeliever — this is a somewhat new kind of religion.
  • Ideas come from God.
  • It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. … Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
  • The deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
  • The word ‘God’ is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, and religious scripture a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.
  • I do not believe in a God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.
  • Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.
  • Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.
  • God always takes the simplest way.
  • God may be subtle, but he isn’t plain mean.
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Science

  • One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.
  • After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.
  • All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.
  • Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
  • In art, and in the higher ranges of science, there is a feeling of harmony which underlies all endeavour. There is no true greatness in art or science without that sense of harmony.
  • It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man’s insecurity before himself and before nature.
  • Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
  • Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgements of all kinds remain necessary.
  • Science can only determine what is, but not what shall be, and beyond its realm, value judgements remain indispensable. Religion, on the other hand, is concerned only with evaluating human thought and actions; it is not qualified to speak of real facts and the relationships between them.
  • Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.
  • The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.
  • To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires a creative imagination and marks the real advances in science.
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Politics

  • All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.
  • An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.
  • It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.
  • Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.
  • Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.
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Art

  • After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.
  • All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
  • True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
  • I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
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Mathematics

  • Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
  • Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
  • As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
  • Politics is for the present, but an equation is for eternity.
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The human condition

  • If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts, avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear, and of promiscuous misery.
  • Feeling and longing are the motive forces behind all human endeavour and human creations.
  • We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant.
  • We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.
  • Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
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Society and civilisation

  • Perfection of means and confusion of ends seems to characterise our age.
  • All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
  • The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
  • The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.
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Solitude

  • Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.
  • I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.
  • I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
  • It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
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More thoughts

  • Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
  • Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
  • Everything in life is vibration.
  • I admit thoughts influence the body.
  • I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.
  • If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
  • In every true searcher of Nature there is a kind of religious reverence, for he finds it impossible to imagine that he is the first to have thought out the exceedingly delicate threads that connect his perceptions.
  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
  • Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
  • Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.
  • Never memorize something that you can look up.
  • No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
  • Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
  • Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
  • Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.
  • Outer changes always begin with an inner change of attitude.
  • Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.
  • Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.
  • Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
  • The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.
  • The time comes in life when we have read enough. It’s time to stop reading. It’s time to lay down the books and write.
  • Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.
  • Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
  • Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
  • Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
  • I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
  • The environment is everything that isn’t me.
  • A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
  • You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one.
  • The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.
  • People love chopping wood. In this activity, one immediately sees results.
  • Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
  • It is only to the individual that a soul is given.
  • I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.
  • It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man’s insecurity before himself and before nature.
  • There could be no fairer destiny for any physical theory than that it should point the way to a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case.
  • I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.
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On a lighter note

  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
  • All generalizations are false, including this one.
  • Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.
  • As far as I’m concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.
  • Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.
  • He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.  He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
  • If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
  • Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.
  • If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.
  • Man usually avoids attributing cleverness to somebody else unless it is an enemy.
  • Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.
  • Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity and I’m not certain about the universe.
  • Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one.
  • Two things are infinite, as far as we know – the universe and human stupidity.
  • The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
  • The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
  • To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself. Albert Einstein
  • The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.
  • Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
  • The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
  • If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
  • The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.
  • Isn’t it strange that I who have written only unpopular books should be such a popular fellow?”
  • Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.
  • A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
  • I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.”  Studs Terkel
  • If Shaw and Einstein couldn’t beat death what chance have I got?”   Mel Brooks
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