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Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Mar 14 2012

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955)


KGB notes: The reason you may not see your favorite Einstein quote listed below is because he probably didn't say it.

After extracting the Einstein quotes from the database, I decided to source all of them- and was dismayed to find nearly a third of the entries were either misattributed or lacked any verifiable references.

As a current meme making the rounds says, "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." That astute observation is attributed to... Abraham Lincoln.

That said, I can guarantee these.


In the past it never occurred to me that every casual remark of mine would be snatched up and recorded. Otherwise I would have crept further into my shell.

A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.

A life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires sooner or later always leads to bitter disappointment.

A man who is convinced of the truth of his religion is indeed never tolerant.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph or reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.

America is a democracy and has no Hitler, but I am afraid for her future; there are hard times ahead for the American people, troubles will be coming from within and without. America cannot smile away their Negro problem nor Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are cosmic laws.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.

Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.

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

Every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. The pursuit of science leads therefore to a religious feeling of a special kind, which differs essentially from the religiosity of more naive people.

Everything is determined... 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 piper.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do- but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels.

God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.

God is subtle, but he is not malicious.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.

He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will.

I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.

I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

I believe in the brotherhood of man and in personal originality. But if you asked me to prove what I believe, I couldn't.

I believe the main task of the spirit is to free man from his ego.

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.

I do not believe in a God who maliciously or arbitrarily interferes in the personal affairs of mankind.

I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws.

I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth- rocks!

I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now. I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am. This purpose is not given me by my parents or my surroundings. It is induced by some unknown factors. These factors make me a part of eternity.

I have faith in the universe, for it is rational. Law underlies each happening. And I have faith in my purpose here on earth. I have faith in my intuition, the language of my conscience, but I have no faith in speculation about Heaven and Hell. I'm concerned with this time- here and now.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

I have only two rules which I regard as principles of conduct. The first is: Have no rules. The second is: Be independent of the opinion of others.

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.

I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.

I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.

If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.

If I had foreseen Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I would have torn up my formula in 1905.

If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity.

If the believers of the present-day religions would earnestly try to think and act in the spirit of the founders of these religions then no hostility on the basis of religion would exist among the followers of the different faiths. Even the conflicts and the realm of religion would be exposed as insignificant.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.

In order to be a perfect member of a flock of sheep, one has to be, foremost, a sheep.

Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Morality is of the highest importance- but for us, not for God.

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.

Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind.

Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But there is no doubt in my mind that the lion belongs with it even if he cannot reveal himself to the eye all at once because of his huge dimension.

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal.

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.

Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem- in my opinion- to characterize our age.

Philosophy is empty if it isn't based on science. Science discovers, philosophy interprets.

Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.

Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the “old one.” I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.

Religion and science go together. As I've said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind.

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.

Since others have explained my theory, I can no longer understand it myself.

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.

Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not.

The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful, and then only for a short while.

The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can't grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.

The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind.

The most important tool of the theoretical physicist is his wastebasket.

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.

The wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims.

The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.

To punish me for my contempt for authority, Fate made me an authority myself.

Try not to become a man of success but rather a man of value.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

What a betrayal of man's dignity. He uses the highest gift, his mind, only ten percent, and his emotions and instincts ninety percent.

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute-and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity.

When the blind beetle crawls over the surface of a globe, he doesn't realize that the track he has covered is curved. I was lucky enough to have spotted it.

Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.

While religion prescribes brotherly love in the relations among the individuals and groups, the actual spectacle more resembles a battlefield than an orchestra.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Why is it nobody understands me and everybody likes me?

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. The very prevention of war requires more faith, courage and resolution than are needed to prepare for war. We must all do our share, that we may be equal to the task of peace.

You must warn people not to make the intellect their God. The intellect knows methods but it seldom knows values, and they come from feeling. If one doesn't play a part in the creative whole, he is not worth being called human. He has betrayed his true purpose.

Categories: Albert Einstein, Quotes of the day


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