Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Georg Christoph

German Physicist, Writer, Satirist and Anglophile

Author Quotes

The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.

To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite.

We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him.

With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.

The thoughts written on the walls of madhouses by their inmates might be worth publicizing.

To err is human also in so far as animals seldom or never err, or at least only the cleverest of them do so.

What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our mouths.

With prophecies the commentator is often a more important man than the prophet.

Theologians always try to turn the Bible into a book without common sense.

To grow wiser means to learn to know better and better the faults to which this instrument with which we feel and judge can be subject.

What concerns me alone I only think, what concerns my friends I tell them, what can be of interest to only a limited public I write, and what the world ought to know is printed...

With the majority of people unbelief in one thing is founded on the blind belief in another.

There are people who believe everything is sane and sensible that is done with a solemn face. ... It is no great art to say something briefly when, like Tacitus, one has something to say; when one has nothing to say, however, and none the less writes a whole book and makes truth ... into a liar — that I call an achievement.

To make a vow is a greater sin than to break one.

What I do not like about our definitions of genius is that there is in them nothing of the day of judgment, nothing of resounding through eternity and nothing of the footsteps of the Almighty.

You believe I run after the strange because I do not know the beautiful; no, it is because you do not know the beautiful that I seek the strange.

There are people who possess not so much genius as a certain talent for perceiving the desires of the century, or even of the decade, before it has done so itself.

To make clever people believe we are what we are not is in most instances harder than really to become what we want to seem to be.

What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others.

You can make a good living from soothsaying but not from truth-saying.

There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.

To read means to borrow; to create out of one's readings is paying off one's debts

What is the good of drawing conclusions from experience? I don’t deny we sometimes draw the right conclusions, but don’t we just as often draw the wrong ones?

You should never have so much to do that, to have no time to think.

There are two ways of extending life: firstly by moving the two points "born" and "died" farther away from one another... The other method is to go more slowly and leave the two points wherever God wills they should be, and this method is for the philosophers.

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Georg Christoph
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German Physicist, Writer, Satirist and Anglophile