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Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a German theoretical physicist and humanist philosopher who became an American citizen. Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

Albert_Einstein age 3

Albert Einstein age 3

Albert_Einstein

Albert Einstein, philosopher and Nobel Laureate of modern physics.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, German professor of physics

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, American physicist living in Princeton, New Jersey.

Quotes of Albert Einstein from WikiQuote, GoodReads, E=Einstein, YouTube,


The best way to cheer yourself is to cheer somebody else up.

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

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

You never fail until you stop trying.

Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

If a body gives off the energy L in the form of radiation, its mass diminishes by L/c².” E = mc².

A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?

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

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

Belief in an unchallengeable authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

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

I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching — that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not just their quick-wittedness.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not accumulation of facts.

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.

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.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

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

A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.

It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

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

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.

Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.

It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler – Dubbed ‘Einstein’s razor’.

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

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.

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

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.

I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right.

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.

Why is it nobody understands me and everybody likes me?

Don’t try not to become a man of success, but rather become a man of value.

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.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking

Never memorize something that you can look up.

[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. …The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.

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

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters

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

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

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

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

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

I believe what we should try to bring about is the general conviction that the first thing you have to abolish is war at all costs, and every other point of view must be of secondary importance.

Without “ethical culture,” there is no salvation for humanity.

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

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

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

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

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

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

The led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader.

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.

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.

I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.

Student: Dr. Einstein, Aren’t these the same questions as last year’s final exam?
Dr. Einstein: Yes; But this year the answers are different.

Human knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth.


COMMENTS:

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.

What everyone who knew Albert Einstein said of him was that he thought through problems for himself from the basic information. If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions. That attitude coupled with his unwillingness to accept ideas based on other people’s authority gave him a better understanding of basic problems and often led to new solutions to those problems.

Einstein spoke of Spinoza as being his moral guide, although he seemed a classic Stoic in most of his personal behavior. I don’t know if he read any of them, although his intellectual hero Spinoza did, and his statement, If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things, lies on the edge of Stoic-style thinking. Those classic philosophers would suggest placing your needs for tranquility on inward things you can control and not external things which you can not control. Thus, Einstein’s avoiding “people” and “things” as sources of happiness is quite stoical, but tying one’s happiness to a “goal” could be outside of one’s control. Stoics cope with that problem by generating an attitude toward the goal in such a way that one does one’s best towards achieving the goal, and are not overly troubled by total satisfaction of achieving it. Considering how many of his later years Einstein spent on obdurate problems, which he didn’t satisfactorily solve, yet remained quite tranquil would make it seem he was a solid stoic at heart.

It is strange that Einstein’s best friend during WWI was Fritz Haber, who was the inventor of Germany’s war gases, and yet he maintained that he himself was a dedicated pacifist. Then as WWII was welling up it was Einstein himself who gave the intellectual push necessary to launch America’s sustained drive to the successful creation of two theoretically independent atomic bombs. Still he maintained his stance as a pacifist. Early in WWII American torpedoes were failing to detonate when they hit Japanese ships and it was Einstein who solved the problem which then permitted the US Navy to sink almost all Japanese ships by that war’s end. He certainly had a scientifically successful career in helping to create the weapons that killed vast numbers of people, while remaining a pacifist, and a very popular figure.

Why is it nobody understands me and everybody likes me?

Einstein’s quotes, 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. and If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. Those statements appear, at first glance, to be condoning lying, but what this statement really implies is that the way you view a phenomena changes the way it appears. It is an alternate statement of the blind men feeling a portion of the elephant problem, and each man reporting a very different experience.

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