Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (July 1, 1742 - February 24, 1799) was a German scientist, satirist, and Anglophile. As a scientist, he was the first to hold a professorship explicitly dedicated to experimental physics in Germany. Today, he is remembered for his posthumously published notebooks, which he himself called Sudelbücher, a description modeled on the English bookkeeping term "scrapbooks," and for his discovery of the strange tree-like patterns now called Lichtenberg figures. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out.
A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.
A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.
Even truth needs to be clad in new garments if it is to appeal to a new age.
Good taste is either that which agrees with my taste or that which subjects itself to the rule of reason. From this we can see how useful it is to employ reason in seeking out the laws of taste.
He who knows himself properly can very soon learn to know all other men. It is all reflection.
I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too.
If people should ever start to do only what is necessary millions would die of hunger.
If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.
It is a question whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel, we do not fall into the error a child makes when it hits the chair it has bumped into.
Of all the inventions of man I doubt whether any was more easily accomplished than that of a Heaven.
Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm.
Popular presentation today is all too often that which puts the mob in a position to talk about something without understanding it.
The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery.
The 'second sight' possessed by the Highlanders in Scotland is actually a foreknowledge of future events. I believe they possess this gift because they don't wear trousers... That is also why in all countries women are more prone to utter prophecies.
The greatest events occur without intention playing any part in them; chance makes good mistakes and undoes the most carefully planned undertaking. The world's greatest events are not produced, they happen.
The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.
The journalists have constructed for themselves a little wooden chapel, which they also call the Temple of Fame, in which they put up and take down portraits all day long and make such a hammering you can't hear yourself speak.
The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.
The most successful tempters and thus the most dangerous are the deluded deluders.
There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.
There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.
There is no more important rule of conduct in the world than this: attach yourself as much as you can to people who are abler than you and yet not so very different that you cannot understand them.
There were honest people long before there were Christians and there are, God be praised, still honest people where there are no Christians. It could therefore easily be possible that people are Christians because true Christianity corresponds to what they would have been even if Christianity did not exist.
To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite.
Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much.
We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.
We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him.
When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.