Albert Einstein


German-born American Physicist, Humanitarian, Philosopher

Author Quotes

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 do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science.

I do not believe that the basic ideas of the theory of relativity can lay claim to a relationship with the religious sphere that is different from that of scientific knowledge in general. I see this connection in the fact that profound interrelationships in the objective world can Ije comprehended through simple logical concepts. To be sure, in the theory of relativity this is the case in particularly full measure.

I have no possibility to bring the money you sent me to the appropriate receiver. I return it therefore in recognition of your good heart and intention. Your letter shows me also that wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

I was impressed by the earnestness of your struggle to find a purpose for the life of the individual and of mankind as a whole. In my opinion there can be no reasonable answer if the question is put this way. If we speak of the purpose and goal of an action we mean simply the question: which kind of desire should we fulfill by the action or its consequences or which undesired consequences should be prevented? We can, of course, also speak in a clear way of the goal of an action from the standpoint of a community to which the individual belongs. In such cases the goal of the action has also to do at least indirectly with fulfillment of desires of the individuals which constitute a society.

If you ask for the purpose or goal of society as a whole or of an individual taken as a whole the question loses its meaning. This is, of course, even more so if you ask the purpose or meaning of nature in general. For in those cases it seems quite arbitrary if not unreasonable to assume somebody whose desires are connected with the happenings.

In responding to this poignant cry for help, Einstein offered no easy solace, and this very fact must have heartened the student and lightened the lonely burden of his doubts. Here is Einstein's response. It was written in English and sent from Princeton on 3 December 1950, within days of receiving the letter:

It is worth mentioning that this letter was written a decade after the advent of Heisenberg's prin ciple of indeterminacy and the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics with its denial of strict determinism.

My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God.

Nevertheless we all feel that it is indeed very reasonable and important to ask ourselves how we should try to conduct our lives. The answer is, in my opinion: satisfaction of the desires and needs of all, as far as this can be achieved, and achievement of harmony and beauty in the human relationships. This presupposes a good deal of conscious thought and of self-education. It is undeniable that the enlightened Greeks and the old Oriental sages had achieved a higher level in this all-important field than what is alive in our schools and universities.

You never fail until you stop trying.

Your imagination is the preview to life

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

You make experiments and I make theories. Do you know the difference? A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.

You can be nothing or everything is a miracle. I believe everything is a miracle.

You believe in the God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order in a world that objectively exists.

You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.

You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I've only ever had one.

Working on the final formulation of technological patents was a veritable blessing for me. It enforced many-sided thinking and also provided important stimuli to physical thought. [Academia] places a young person under a kind of compulsion to produce impressive quantities of scientific publications; a temptation to superficiality.

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.

Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not.

Work is the only thing that gives substance to life.

Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exist for other people.

With fame, I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.

Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.

Why is it that nobody understands me and everybody likes me?

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German-born American Physicist, Humanitarian, Philosopher