Einstein Quotes


Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein

“Any intelligent 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.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”

“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

“I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.”

“God is subtle but he is not malicious.”

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”

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

“The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”

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

“Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

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

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

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

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

“Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”

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

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

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

“Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.”

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

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; I am not sure about the latter.”

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

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

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

“In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.”

“The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.”

“Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.”

“No, this trick won’t work…How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”

“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 mind.”

“Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.”

“The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”

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

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

“The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.”

“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.”

“You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”

“One had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.”

“…one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.”

“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

Copyright: Kevin Harris 1995 (may be freely distributed with this acknowledgement) (Harris)

Copied from Brainy Quotes

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

A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.

All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man’s actions.

An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little will fall into lazy habits of thinking.

Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

As far as I’m concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.

Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.

Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.

Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.

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

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

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

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions. 

Force always attracts men of low morality.

God always takes the simplest way.

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them!

Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

I am a deeply religious nonbeliever – this is a somewhat new kind of religion.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.

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 that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty. 

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 do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.

I have just got a new theory of eternity.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.

I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.

I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion. 

I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details. 

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

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

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

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

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.

In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.

Information is not knowledge.

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

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.

Isn’t it strange that I who have written only unpopular books should be such a popular fellow?

It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

It is only to the individual that a soul is given. 

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.

It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man’s insecurity before himself and before nature.

It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion.

It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.

Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.

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

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Love is a better teacher than duty.

Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events.

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

Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.

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

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

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

Never lose a holy curiosity.

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

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

Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.

One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.

One strength of the communist system of the East is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion. 

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results.

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits.


Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

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

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.

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

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.

That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

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

The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. 

The environment is everything that isn’t me.

The faster you go, the shorter you are.

The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.

The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms. 

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

The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

The man of science is a poor philosopher.

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

The only real valuable thing is intuition.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.

The only source of knowledge is experience.

The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

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 road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.

The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.

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

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.

There could be no fairer destiny for any physical theory than that it should point the way to a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case.

There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, require creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

To the Master’s honor all must turn, each in its track, without a sound, forever tracing Newton’s ground.
Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.

True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.

We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

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

We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

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.

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

Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.

You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. (Quotes)

Works Cited

Harris, Kevin. Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein. 01 01 1995. 07 08 2010 <http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/EinsteinQuotes.html&gt;.

Quotes, Brainy. Albert Einstein Quotes. 01 01 2010. 07 08 2010 <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html&gt;.

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