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Albert Einstein
1879 - 1955

American physicist whose name has become synonymous with "genius". Although expelled from school for being a disruptive influence, Einstein showed interest in the physical world at an early age. At the age of 16 he wrote a respected paper on the relationship between electricity, magnetism and the ether. His Theory of Relativity, confirmed by observation of eclipses, took the scientific world by storm in the early part of the twentieth century and 20 years later his equation e=mc2 led to ideas that created atomic bomb and, eventually, other uses of nuclear energy. After World War II, Einstein spent much of his time working for world peace.

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Ideas & Opinions (1988)
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Those to whom the moral teaching of the human race is entrusted surely have a great duty and a great opportunity.

Nov. 1947 - from "Atomic War or Peace", published by The Atlantic Monthly Magazine
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

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.

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.

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

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

The satisfaction of physical needs is indeed the indispensable precondition of a satisfactory existence, but in itself is not enough. In order to be content men must also have the possibility of developing their intellectual and artistic powers to whatever extent accord with their personal characteristics and abilities.

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.

Aug. 05, 1927
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Violence sometimes may have a cleared away obstructions quickly, but it never has proved itself creative.

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

from an essay in The American Mathematical Monthly Vol. 100, No. 3
... 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 this country is closely connected with this.

1954 - from Ideas and Opinions
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.

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

1950 - from My Later Years
We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organized that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race. Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man's actions. All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us.

Force always attracts men of low morality.

It's no accident that capitalism has brought with it progress, not merely in production but also in knowledge. Egoism and competition are, alas, stronger forces than public spirit and sense of duty.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

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

Tell the students of the University of Toronto this from me, simple, but perhaps helpful to some, I say to them: Be above mere authority in matters of the mind; they must, in the last analysis, follow their own judgment-their own feeling of truth. I tell those students this-they must profess no belief without conviction. To conform, means often death; to non-conform-in this is often life, often life eternal.

Jan. 27, 1934 - quoted in the Toronto Star in an interview by R.E. Knowles
It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.

The most important motive for study at school, at the university, and in life is the pleasure of working and thereby obtaining results which will serve the community. The most important task for our educators is to awaken and encourage these psychological forces in a young man or woman.

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

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

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

Feb. 1976 - quoted in Scientific American
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.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

The most important human endeavor is the 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 life.

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

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

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details.

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

Conceptions without experience are void; experience without conceptions is blind.

A tyranny based on... deception and maintained by terror must invitably perish from the poison it generates within itself.

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.

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

The real difficulty, the difficulty that has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: How can we make our teaching so potent in the emotional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces of the individual.

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

A tyranny based on...deception and maintained by terror must invitably perish from the poison it generates within itself.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

The only justifiable purpose of political institutions is to insure the unhindered development of the individual.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

Perfection of means and confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

[There is] a duty in refusing to cooperate in any undertaking that violates the Constitutional rights of the individual. This holds in particular for all inquisitions that are concerned with the private life and the political affiliations of the citizens...

An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.

... freedom of the spirit ... consists in the interdependence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudices as well as from unphilosophical routinizing and habit in general. This inward freedom is an infrequent gift of nature and a worthy object for the individual.