Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Experiment

"The human mind feels restless and dissatisfied under the anxieties of ignorance. It longs for the repose of conviction; and to gain this repose it will often rather precipitate its conclusions than wait for the tardy lights of observation and experiment. There is such a thing, too, as the love of simplicity and system, a prejudice of the understanding which disposes it to include al the phenomena of nature under a few sweeping generalities, and indolence which loves to repose on the beauties of a theory rather than encounter the fatiguing detail of its evidences." - Thomas Chalmers

"Genuine intellectual integrity is found in experimental knowing. Until this lesson is fully learned, it is not safe to dissociate knowledge from experiment nor experiment from experience." - John Dewey

"So far as man stands for anything, and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except upon a maybe; not a service, not a sally of generosity, not a scientific exploration or experiment or textbook, that may not be a mistake. It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true." - William James

"There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trail and error: experimentation. The 'failed' experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately 'works.'" -

"Happiness in marriage is not a gift, but an opportunity. It is an obligation, not an experiment." - Barnett Brickner

"The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and the facts established by experiment." - Bernard d'Espagnat

"No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment may at any time prove me wrong." - Albert Einstein

"Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences - "which is the mostest? which is the leastest?" They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: the heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"The bravest and best men of all times have perished in the struggles against tyranny and despotism, and free government has never secured even a feeble existence save at a most fearful cost. The experiment of republican government in our own country is similar to that of all others. Here, however, liberty has won her grandest triumphs. Here freedom is enthroned securely and is the unchallenged boon of every inhabitant. But we contemplate the cost of victory with mournful and pitying hearts." - Harrison Eugene Havens

"There is but one bond of peace that is both permanent and enriching: the increasing knowledge of the world in which experiment occurs." - Walter Lippmann

"Maybe we’re just one experiment... Maybe we’re part of the creator’s great caldron, boiling with a wealth of phenomena that the most learned physicians and physicists are just beginning to figure out... I think it’s impossible to think our being here is the result of chance. I think we’re part of a master plan known only to the Creator." - Cory SerVaas

"We are, without permission but with our tacit approval, the subjects of a giant electrical experiment. Nor is there any end in sight. The density of radio waves around us now is 100 million times the natural level reaching us from the Sun, and by 1990 it will have doubled again. When superconducting cables are introduced, the field strength around power line will be increased by another twenty times. And electric cars and vehicles moved by magnetic levitation will add entirely new sources of electropollution to the stew with which we are already assailed. Meanwhile, the first results of the experiment are starting to come in and there is, it seems, no place to hide." - Lyall Watson

"Do not be put off if you find that you have to wait and experiment. Be sure that you will have disappointments to endure. But do not be satisfied without some side line in which you may give yourself out as a man to men. There is one waiting for you if only you are willing to take it up in the right spirit." - Albert Schweitzer

"What is life but an experiment? and mortality but an exercise? with reference to results beyond." -

"Scientists look for four qualities in theory generally… parsimony: the fewer the units and process used to account for the phenomenon, the better… second, generality: the greater the range of phenomena covered by the model, the more likely it is to be true… Consilence: units and process of a discipline that conform with solidly verified knowledge in other disciplines have proven consistently superior in theory and practice to units and processes that do not conform… Predictiveness: those theories endure that are precise in the predictions they make across phenomena and whose predictions are easiest to test by observation and experiment." -

"If enough species are extinguished, will the ecosystem collapse, and will the extinction of most other species follow soon afterward? The only answer anyone can give is: possibly. By the time we find out however, it might be too late. One planet, one experiment." -

"The concept of a life experiment can help us get past the fear of failure. The only real failure is not to experiment." - Copthorne Macdonald

"The knowledge of a single fact acquired through a discovery of its causes prepares the mind to understand and ascertain other facts without need of recourse to experiment." - Galileo Galilei, known simply as Galileo

"Nature holds not brief for the human experiment: it must stand or fall by its results. If Man will not serve, Nature will try another experiment." - George Bernard Shaw

"Happiness is the only sanction in life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment." - George Santayana

"We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties." - James Madison

"Experiment is the sole source of truth." - Henri Poincaré, fully Jules Henri Poincaré

"A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search for truth and perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life... Variation, experiment and insurgence are all of them attributes of freedom." - Lewis Mumford

"All life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

"All life is an experiment." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

"Do not fear to put novels into the hands of young people as an occasional holiday experiment, but above all, good poetry in all kinds - epic, tragedy, lyric. If we can touch the imagination, we serve them; they will never forget it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker with no past at my back." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: it was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the time, or it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect. The man was born to do it, and his father was born to be the father of him and for this deed, and, by looking narrowly, you shall see there was no luck in the matter, but it was all a problem in arithmetic, or an experiment in chemistry." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about actions. All life is an experiment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be timid and squeamish about your actions; all life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We have learned so well how to absorb novelty that receptivity itself has turned into a kind of tradition - "the tradition of the new." Yesterday's avant-garde experiment is today's chic and tomorrow's cliché." - Richard Hofstadter

"Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with truth." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"If enough species are extinguished, will the ecosystem collapse, and will the extinction of most other species follow soon afterward? The only answer anyone can give is: possibly. By the time we find out however, it might be too late. One planet, one experiment." -

"A fool is a man who never tried an experiment in his life. " - Erasmus Darwin

"A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement. Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand, i.e. the metaphysics of quantum physics, is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model. " - Erwin Schrödinger, fully Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger

"A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement. Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. " - Fritjof Capra

"Life is the great experiment. Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effects." - George Sheehan

"Are ideals confined to this deformed experiment upon a noble purpose, tainted, as it is, with bargains and tied to a peace treaty which might have been disposed of long ago to the great benefit of the world if it had not been compelled to carry this rider on its back? " - Henry Cabot Lodge

"How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? " - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"Indeed, this epistemological theory of the relation between theory and experiment differs sharply from the epistemological theory of naive falsificationism." - Imre Lakatos

"Can we ever live without exploitation? I say we can. There must be exploitation as long as there is the struggle for self-protection; as long as the mind is seeking security, comfort - through family, religion, authority, or tradition - there must be exploitation. And exploitation ceases only when the mind discerns the falseness of security and is no longer ensnared by its own power of creating illusions. If you will experiment with what I say, you will then understand that I am not destroying desire, but that you can live in this world richly, sanely, a life without limitations, without suffering. You can discover this only by experimenting, not by denying, not through resignation, nor by merely imitating. Where intelligence is functioning - and intelligence ceases to function when there is fear and the desire for security - there can be no exploitation." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Thus situated, the perilous experiment must be made. Let me make it with full deliberations, and be prepared for the consequences." - John Quincy Adams

"The mystics ask you to take nothing on mere belief. Rather, they give you a set of experiments to test in your own awareness and experience. The laboratory is your own mind, the experiment is meditation." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"The possible truths, hazily perceived in the world of abstraction, like those inferred from observation and experiment in the world of matter, are forced upon the profane multitudes, too busy to think for themselves, under the form of Divine revelation and scientific authority. But the same question stands open from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man? Reason answers, "there cannot be." There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever, in a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself. But there are relative truths, and we have to make the best we can of them." - Helena Blavatsky, aka Helena Petrovna "H.P." Blavatsky or Madame Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn