Author: Albert Einstein

Brief Info: German-born theoretical physicist

Years Lived: 1879-1955

More Info: <link>

Quotations


The Eternal Struggle for Human Rights

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The existence and validity of human rights are not written in the stars. The ideals concerning the conduct of men toward each other and the desirable structure of the community have been conceived and taught by enlightened individuals in the course of history. Those ideals and convictions which resulted from historical experience, from the craving for beauty and harmony, have been readily accepted in theory by man – and at all times, have been trampled upon by the same people under the pressure of their animal instincts. A large part of history is therefore replete with the struggle for those human rights, an eternal struggle in which a final victory can never be won. But to tire in that struggle would mean the ruin of society.

From the speech Address to the Chicago Decalogue Society

— 20 Feb 1954


A Man of Value

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

From the article Life Magazine

— 2 May 1955


The Supreme Goal of All Theory

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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.

From the lecture On the Method of Theoretical Physics

— 1933


Moral Religion

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The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. 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.

From the book Religion and Science

— 1930


This Highest Kind of Religious Feeling

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The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this. The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints.

From the book Religion and Science

— 1930


A Happy Man

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

From the unknown The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein

— 18 September 1896


Only a Human Being

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I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.

From the unknown The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein

— 18 September 1896


The Mysterious

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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.

From the book The World As I See It

— 1949


To Give in the Same Measure

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How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people – first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. 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….

From the book The World As I See It

— 1949


Those who tolerate or encourage evil

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

From the book Tribute to Pablo Casals

— 30 Mar 1953


Violent Opposition from Mediocre Minds

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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.

From the unknown to Morris Raphael Cohen, professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York

— 19 March 1940


Simplicity and Complexity

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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

From the unknown unknown

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