Quotations by Einstein, Albert


Any government is in itself an evil insofar as it carries within it the tendency to deteriorate into tyranny.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“A Reply to the Soviet Scientists,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (Feb 1948)
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When the issue is one of Truth and Justice, there can be no differentiating between small problems and great ones. For the general viewpoints on human behaviour are indivisible. People who fail to regard the truth seriously in small matters, cannot be trusted in matters that are great.

[Wenn es sich um Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit handelt, gibt es nicht die Unterscheidung zwischen kleinen und grossen Problemen. Denn die allgemeinen Gesichtspunkte, die das Handeln der Menschen betreffen, sind unteilbar. Wer es in kleinen Dingen mit der Wahrheit nicht ernst nimmt, dem kann man auch in grossen Dingen nicht vertrauen …]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Albert Einstein on Israeli-Arab Relations,” New Outlook (Jul 1957)

Often paraphrased / translated, "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." See here for more discussion.
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A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Atomic Education Urged by Einstein,” New York Times (25 May 1946)

This may be the source of some otherwise unsourced Einstein quotes:

  • "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them"
  • "The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them."
  • "The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
  • "This problem will not be solved by the same minds that created it."
  • "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
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For the present [atomic energy] is a menace. Perhaps it is as well that it should be. It may intimidate the human race to bring order into its international affairs, which, without the pressure of fear, it undoubtedly would not do.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Einstein on the Atomic Bomb,” Interview with Raymond Swing, Atlantic (Nov 1945)
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In so far as the statements of geometry speak about reality, they are not certain, and in so far as they are certain, they do not speak about reality.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Geometry and Experience” (1921)
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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Ideas and Opinions” (1954)
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The distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo,” Wisdom (Jan 1956)
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Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo,” Wisdom (Jan 1956)
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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. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.

In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

Einstein - sense of the mysterious - wist_info quote

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo,” speech, German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932)
    (Source)
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The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in the United States is closely connected with this.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My First Impression of the U.S.A.” (1921)

Later published as "Some Notes on my American Impressions" in The World As I See It (1949)
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Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

[Wer es unternimmt, auf dem Gebiet der Wahrheit und der Erkenntnis als Autoritat aufzutreten, scheitert am Gelachter der Gotter.]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Neun Aphorismen” (23 May 1953)
    (Source)

In Essays Presented to Leo Baeck on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday (publ. 1954). Also quoted from the 1977 ed. of Mein Weltbild (1949). Essays also sometimes cited 1952. Alternate translation: "He who endeavors to present himself as an authority in matters of truth and cognition, will be wrecked by the laughter of the gods."
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One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Physics and Reality” Journal of the Franklin Institute (Mar 1936)
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A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine (9 Nov. 1930)
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How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it …

 

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine (9 Nov 1930)
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The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples’ lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine (9 Nov 1930)
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The state is made for man, not man for the state.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“The Disarmament Conference of 1932,” The World As I See It [tr. Harris (1934)]
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There is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of a good cause.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“The Negro Question,” Pageant (Jan 1946)
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I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

Einstein - imagination is more important than knowlege - wist_info quote

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“What Life Means to Einstein,” Interview with G. Viereck, Saturday Evening Post (26 Oct 1929)

Quoted as "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world" in Viereck, "What Life Means to Einstein," Glimpses of the Great (1930).
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I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“What Life Means to Einstein,” Interview with G. Viereck, Saturday Evening Post (26 Oct 1929)
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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“What Life Means to Einstein,” Interview with G. Viereck, Saturday Evening Post (26 Oct 1929)
    (Source)
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The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the people that do evil; but because of the people that stand by and let them do it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Recalled on his death.
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Try not to become a success, but rather try to become a man of value.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted by LIFE magazine (2 May 1955)
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The most important human endeavor is striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Reader's Digest, Oct 1977
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Common sense is that layer of prejudices which we acquire before we are sixteen.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

quoted in Mathematics, Queen and Servant of the Sciences by E.T. Bell
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Strange is our situation here upon the earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief
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I would rather be an optimist and a fool than be a pessimist and correct.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

quoted in Quest by L. Infeld (1942)
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The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Goldman, Einstein's God (1997)

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As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Date is cited in a couple of places online as 1954, but with no further information.
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No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Also attributed (usually as "coincidences are ...") to Doris Lessing.
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I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe, ch. 17 (2007)

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

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted by William Miller in LIFE magazine (2 May 1955)
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In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

In a conversation with Prince Hubertus Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, quoted in his autobiography Towards the Further Shore (1968).
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If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)
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You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Alternate versions:

  • If you can't explain something to a six-year-old, you really don't understand it yourself.
  • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.

No source found. The quote is frequently also attributed to Richard Feynman.  It is likely based on a similar quote by Ernest Rutherford.  The closest reference to it can be found in Ronald W. Clark's Einstein: His Life and Times, referring to Louis de Broglie:

To de Broglie, Einstein revealed an instinctive reason for his inability to accept the purely statistical interpretation of wave mechanics. It was a reason which linked him with Rutherford, who used to state that "it should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid." Einstein, having a final discussion with de Broglie on the platform of the Gare du Nord in Paris, whence they had traveled from Brussels to attend the Fresnel centenary celebrations, said "that all physical theories, their mathematical expressions apart ought to lend themselves to so simple a description 'that even a child could understand them.' "

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If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Attributed to Einstein, but no definitive citation found. See here for more discussion.
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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, just as the man, who spends too much time in the theatre, is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted in George Sylvester Viereck, Glimpses of the Great (1930).
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Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Then I looked to individual writers who, as literary guides of Germany, had written much and often concerning the place of freedom in modern life; but they, too, were mute.

Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Disputed)

Regarding the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. Originally attributed in S. Parkes Cadman, "The Conflict Between Church And State In The Third Reich," La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press (28 Oct 1934), noted as a "free translation" made by a colleague of the writer. Made famous in being quoted in Time (23 Dec 1940). Einstein himself said that he'd said something like this to a journalist, noting that the only German intellectuals supporting individual rights and intellectual freedom in the early Nazi regime were a few churchmen. He later suggested that his words on the matter had been significantly exaggerated, and issued much more critical statements about how the Catholic Church, in particular, had been silent or collaborated with the Nazi regime. More discussion here and here.
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What separates me from most atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. The fanatical atheists are like the slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who — in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses” — cannot hear the music of the spheres. I prefer the attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Spurious / Synthetic)

This quotation is actually a synthesis of several Einstein quotes. It is sometimes attributed as a whole to "Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium" (1941), but only a part is found there. Nor is it found at all  in the also sometimes cited "Religion and Science," New York Times Magazine (9 Nov 1930)

The "utter humility" portion is attributed as a letter from Einstein to Joseph Lewis (18 Apr 1953).  It was quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein (2007). The “fanatical” through “spheres” portion is in a letter (7 Aug 1941) discussing responses to his essay “Science and Religion” (1941) per Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology (1999)

The “weakness of our intellectual understanding” phrase is attributed to a letter to Guy H. Raner Jr. (28 Sep 1949), quoted in the Isaacson work as well as by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic, Vol. 5, No. 2.

The lame/blind phrase is attributed to a letter to Eric Gutkind (3 Jan 1954). It was earlier used by Einstein (1941) at the Symposium cited above.

This synthetic quotation is a good example of the difficulties in quoting Einstein, who is used as a polemical bludgeon by a variety of groups, and is often poorly or incorrectly cited online, compounded by his re-use the same turns of phrase multiple times in his correspondence and papers.
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Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Spurious)

Found in various humorous sources (with or without Einstein's name) dating back to the 1920s. More info here.
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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Spurious)

See here for discussion.
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Perfection of means and confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Out of My Later Years, ch. 14 (1950)
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We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Out of My Later Years, ch. 51 (1950)
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I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
The World As I See It (1949)

Alt. trans.: "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."

Also quoted in his obituary, New York Times (19 Apr 1955)

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A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
The World as I See It, “Ideas & Opinions” (1949)

Trans. Sonja Bargmann
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The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
The World As I See It, Title Essay (1931) (1949)


Essay also known as "Mein Weltbild" or "My Worldview." Source essay.

Alternate translation: "The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man."

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

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Aphorism for a friend (18 Sep 1930) [Einstein Archive 36-598]
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What I particularly admire in him is the firm stand he has taken, not only against the oppressors of his countrymen, but also against those opportunists who are always ready to compromise with the Devil. He perceives very clearly that the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Comments on Pablo Casals (30 Mar 1953)

In Josep Maria Corredor, Conversations avec Pablo Casals [Conversations with Casals] (1955)

Variants / paraphrases:
  • "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Conversation with Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein (1929)

Quoted in D. Brian, Einstein: A Life (1996)

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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
In Lincoln Barnes, “The Meaning of Einstein’s New Theory,” Life (9 Jan 1950)
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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!

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Interview with Alfred Werner, Liberal Judaism (April-May 1949)
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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. That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Interview with Peter Bucky

Quoted in Einstein's obituary, New York Times (18 Apr 1955) and in Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (1953)
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It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few individuals for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular assessment of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Interview, Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (1921)
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It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter (24 Mar 1954)

Quoted in Dukas & Hoffman (eds), Albert Einstein: the Human Side (1981)

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Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who -— in their grudge against the traditional “opium of the people” -— cannot hear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human morals and human aims.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter (7 Aug 1941) [Einstein Archive, reel 54-927]
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I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to a Baptist minister (17 Jul 1953)
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I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Carl Seelig (11 Mar 1952), Einstein Archive 39-013

Similar wording was used in a letter to Hans Muehsam (4 Mar 1953) Einstein Archive 38-424.
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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Carl Seelig (25 Oct 1953) [Einstein Archive 39-053]
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Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to E. Holzapfel (Mar 1951)

Einstein Archive 59-1013
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You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Ensign Guy H. Raner (Summer 1945)
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I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Guy H. Raner Jr. (28 Sep 1949)
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With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Heinrich Zangger (Dec 1919), Einstein Archive 39-726
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My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to M. Berkowitz (25 Oct 1950) [Einstein Archive 59-215]
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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.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Morris Raphael Cohen (19 Mar 1940)

Einstein was writing to Cohen, professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching post.
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Strenuous intellectual work and the study of God’s Nature are the angels that will lead me through all the troubles of this life with consolation, strength, and uncompromising rigor.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Pauline Winteler (c. May 1897); CPAE, vol. 1, doc. 34
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People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to the family of Michele Besso after learning of his death (Mar. 1955)

Quoted in Science and the Search for God Disturbing the Universe (1979) by Freeman Dyson. Probable source of the common attribution: "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
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I have to apologize to you that I am still among the living. There will be a remedy for this however.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter to Tyffany Williams (25 Aug 1946)

Tyffany, a child in South Africa, had written of her surprise to learn that Einstein was still alive.
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Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion … The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Paper, Symposium on Science, Philosophy and Religion, New York (9 Sep. 1940)
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Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Remark (Winter 1927)

Response to atheist Alfred Kerr's dinner party query, "I hear that you are supposed to be deeply religious." Quoted in The Diary of a Cosmopolitan by H. G. Kessler (1971).
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Subtle is God, but malicious He is not.

[Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber boshaft ist er nicht.]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Remark at Princeton University (Apr. 1921)

Later inscribed in Fine Hall, Princeton University. Quoted in Einstein, ch. 14, R.W. Clark (1973). Einstein in 1946 gave a looser translation: "God is slick, but he ain’t mean."
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A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Remark to Jost Winteler (8 Jul 1901), in Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1 (1987) [tr. Beck]
    (Source)
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Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Sign in Einstein’s Princeton office

It's not established this was original to Einstein. Sometimes quoted in reverse: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Speech, French Philosophical Society, Paris (6 Apr 1922)
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A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Title essay (1931), The World As I See It (1949)

Essay also known as "Mein Weltbild" or "My Worldview." Source essay.
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That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Title essay (1931), The World As I See It (1949)

Essay also known as "Mein Weltbild" or "My Worldview." Source essay. Alternate translation: "He who joyfully marches to music 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 fully suffice."
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My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Unpublished writing (1927)

Written (in German) on a letter from a Colorado banker (5 Aug 1927), asking about the question of God. Quoted in H. Dukas, B. Hoffman (eds.) Albert Einstein: The Human Side (1981)

Added on 17-Jul-09 | Last updated 17-Jul-09
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