Quotes by Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955) was a German-American theoretical physicist of Jewish descent, born in Ulm, Germany, who is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. He proposed the theory ... more

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Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
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.
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.
To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
The only source of knowledge is experience.
You can't blame gravity for falling in love.
Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
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.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
I can't believe that God plays dice with the universe.
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.
Love is a better teacher than duty.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Many times a day I realize how much my own life is built on the labors of my fellowmen, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.
One must not attempt to justify them, but rather to sense their nature simply and clearly.
Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.
Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.
All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
When the solution is simple, God is answering.
When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.
God is subtle, but He is not malicious. I cannot believe that God plays dice with the world.
I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of 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.
Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count.
If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research.
Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.
It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery everyday. Never lose a holy curiosity.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
We should take care not to make the intellect our god: it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; 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.
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.
Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.
Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.
If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut.
The only real valuable thing is intuition.
Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.
The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
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.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the unlimitable superior who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow -- perhaps it all will.
When you examine the lives of the most influential people who have ever walked among us, you discover one thread that winds through them all. They have been aligned first with their spiritual nature and only then with their physical selves.
The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.
God is clever, but not dishonest.
God does not play dice with the universe.
The ideas that have lighted my way and, time after time, have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.
Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem -- in my opinion -- to characterize our age.
The pioneers of a warless world are the young men and women who refuse military service.
The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth.
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. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms -- this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule...
Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.
Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.
According to this conception, the sole function of education was to open the way to thinking and knowing, and the school, as the outstanding organ for the people's education, must serve that end exclusively.
It is our American habit if we find the foundations of our educational structure unsatisfactory to add another story or wing. We find it easier to add a new study or course or kind of school than to recognize existing conditions so as to meet the need. strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.
Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes -- goodwill among men and peace on earth.
Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet
The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love
The environment is everything that isn't me.
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.
Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury -- to me these have always been contemptible. I assume that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind
The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.
Formal symbolic representation of qualitative entities is doomed to its rightful place of minor significance in a world where flowers and beautiful women abound.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.
The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.
It is theory that decides what can be observed.
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 my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
God always takes the simplest way.
Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.
How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years, but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind.
Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
The American lives even more for his goals, for the future, than the European. Life for him is always becoming, never being.
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.
An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.
Science is the attempt to make the chaotic diversity of our sense experience correspond to a logically uniform system of thought.
The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.
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.
They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities.
To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty... this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
The distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force.
To understand the world one must not be worrying about one's self.
All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
A theory is the more impressive the greater is the simplicity of its premises, the more different are the kinds of things it relates and the more extended the range of its applicability.
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.
Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.
The opinion prevailed among advanced minds that it was time that belief should be replaced increasingly by knowledge; belief that did not itself rest on knowledge was superstition, and as such had to be opposed.
We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant.
The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working.
If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
The man of science is a poor philosopher.
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.
During the last century, and part of the one before, it was widely held that there was an unreconcilable conflict between knowledge and belief.
In a healthy nation there is a kind of dramatic balance between the will of the people and the government, which prevents its degeneration into tyranny.
The bitter and the sweet come from the outside, the hard from within, from one's own efforts.
And the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule, or to impose himself in any other way.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, 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.
Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.
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.
An attempt at visualizing the Fourth Dimension: Take a point, stretch it into a line, curl it into a circle, twist it into a sphere, and punch through the sphere.
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.
When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute -- then it's longer than any hour. That's relativity!
To the Master's honor all must turn, each in its track, without a sound, forever tracing Newton's ground.
The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.
I have little patience with scientists who take a board of wood, look for its thinnest part, and drill a great number of holes where drilling is easy.
Politics is far more complicated than physics.
Science is the century-old endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thorough-going an association as possible.
Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.
When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails.
Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation.
Considered logically this concept is not identical with the totality of sense impressions referred to; but it is an arbitrary creation of the human (or animal) mind.
It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations.
Out of the multitude of our sense experiences we take, mentally and arbitrarily, certain repeatedly occurring complexes of sense impression (partly in conjunction with sense impressions which are interpreted as signs for sense experiences of others), and we attribute to them a meaning the meaning of the bodily object.
Never lose a holy curiosity.
The legs are the wheels of creativity.
You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
One strength of the communist system of the East is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion.
All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man's actions.
One need only think of the weather, in which case the prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible.
How do I work? I grope.
All these constructions and the laws connecting them can be arrived at by the principle of looking for the mathematically simplest concepts and the link between them.
Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it.
The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition.
Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science
It is only to the individual that a soul is given.
The real difficulty, the difficulty which has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: how can we make our teaching so potent in the motional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces in the individual?
If one were to take that goal out of out of its religious form and look merely at its purely human side, one might state it perhaps thus: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind.
To put it boldly, it is the attempt at a posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization.
If one asks the whence derives the authority of fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason, one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions, which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals; they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to find justification for their existence.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, 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.
I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.
This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientists do, each in his own fashion.
We have penetrated far less deeply into the regularities obtaining within the realm of living things, but deeply enough nevertheless to sense at least the rule of fixed necessity... what is still lacking here is a grasp of the connections of profound generality, but not a knowledge of order itself.
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.
The words of language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The physical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images.
At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on.
Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way peace and security which he can not find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.
In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts.
The most evident difference springs from the important part which is played in man by a relatively strong power of imagination and by the capacity to think, aided as it is by language and other symbolically devices.
On the other hand, the concept owes its meaning and its justification exclusively to the totality of the sense impressions which we associate with it.
Though our conduct seems so very different from that of the higher animals, the primary instincts are much alike in them and in us.
All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us.
But their intervention makes our acts to serve ever less merely the immediate claims of our instincts.
Thought is the organizing factor in man, intersected between the causal primary instincts and the resulting actions.
We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organized that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race.
Fuck Vegetarians and Vegans
Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.
To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.
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.
Money only appeals to selfishness and always tempts its owners irresistibly to abuse it. // Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?
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.
It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry ….
I believe that the first step in the setting of a real external world is the formation of the concept of bodily objects and of bodily objects of various kinds.
Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivablethough much less certainthat extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat or exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.
It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase mans blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source ... They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres.
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.
Of all the communities available to us there is not one I would want to devote myself to, except for the society of the true searchers, which has very few living members at any time.
If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.
Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us.
An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.
Education is that which remains if one has forgotten everything else he learned in school
Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i. e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being.