Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Albert Einstein

German-born American Physicist, Humanitarian, Philosopher

"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 only comprehend in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is the center of true religiousness."

"We believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death."

"We may therefore further regard matter as being constituted by the regions of space in which the field is extremely intenseā€¦ There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality."

"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."

"Why do I get my best ideas in the shower?"

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."

"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."

"Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools."

"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."

"During the last century, and part of the one before, it was widely held that there was an irreconcilable conflict between knowledge and belief."

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

"Common sense is that collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.""

"Everything that can be counted doesn't necessarily count; everything that counts can't necessarily be counted.""

"Few are those who can see with their own eyes and hear with their own hearts."

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."

"Human beings can attain a worthy and harmonious life only if they are able to rid themselves, within the limits of human nature, of striving to fulfill wishes of the material kind."

"I am firmly convinced that the passionate will for justice and truth has done more to improve [the human condition] than calculating political shrewdness which in the long run only breeds general mistrust."

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."

"Even scholars of audacious spirit and fine instinct can be obstructed in the interpretation of facts by philosophical prejudices."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."

"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 player."

"I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."

"I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil."

"I have deep faith that the principle of the universe will be beautiful and simple."

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

"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."

"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."

"I think that a particle must have a separate reality independent of the measurements. That is an electron has spin, location and so forth even when it is not being measured. I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it."

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

"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."

"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."

"Information is not knowledge."

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

"It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity."

"It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it."

"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 in 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 one of the goals of religions to liberate mankind as far as possible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears."

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

"Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man presents his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

"Logic [knowledge] will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

"Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society. The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil."

"Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today's events.""

"Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character."

"My goal is simple. It is complete understanding of the universe, why it as it is and why it exists as all."

"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."