Georg C. Lichtenberg

(Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)

Georg C. Lichtenberg
Georg C. Lichtenberg
  • Born: July 1, 1742
  • Died: February 24, 1799
  • Nationality: German
  • Profession: Scientist









Quote Topics Cited
Actual aristocracy cannot be abolished by any law: all the law can do is decree how it is to be imparted and who is to acquire it. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Before one blames, one should always find out whether one cannot excuse. To discover little faults has been always the particularity of such brains that are a little or not at all above the average. The superior ones keep quiet or say something against the whole and the great minds transform without blaming. Management & Managing Government
Even the best laws can only be respected and feared, not loved. Good rulers are respected, feared and loved. What mighty sources happiness for a nation good rulers are! Leaders & Leadership
Even truth needs to be clad in new garments if it is to appeal to a new age. Truth ;Miscellaneous
I am often of one opinion when I am lying down and of another when I am standing up. Human Nature
Man is always partial and is quite right to be. Even impartiality is partial. Human Nature
Nothing can contribute more to peace of soul than the lack of any opinion whatever. Human Nature ;War & Peace
The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The greatest events occur without intention playing any part in them; chance makes good mistakes and undoes the most carefully planned undertaking. The world's greatest events are not produced, they happen. Management & Managing Government
The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted. Miscellaneous
There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Families, Children & Parenting
We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him
Where the frontier of science once was is now the center. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out.
A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.
A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.
Be wary of passing the judgment: obscure. To find something obscure poses no difficult, elephants and poodles find many things obscure.
Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates. Truth
Doubt must be no more than vigilance, otherwise it can become dangerous.
Erudition can produce foliage without bearing fruit.
Every man has his moral backside which he refrains from showing unless he has to and keeps covered as long as possible with the trousers of decorum.
Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
God created man in His own image, says the Bible; philosophers reverse the process: they create God in theirs. Religion & God
He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage - he won't encounter many rivals. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
He who says he hates every kind of flattery, and says it in earnest, certainly does not yet know every kind of flattery.
Here take back the stuff that I am, nature, knead it back into the dough of being, make of me a bush, a cloud, whatever you will, even a man, only no longer make me me. Nature
I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I believe that man is in the last resort so free a being that his right to be what he believes himself to be cannot be contested.
I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
If all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly.
If people should ever start to do only what is necessary millions would die of hunger.
If the little bit you have is nothing special in itself, at least find a way of saying it that is a little bit special.
If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.
It is a question whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel, we do not fall into the error a child makes when it hits the chair it has bumped into.
It is almost everywhere the case that soon after it is begotten the greater part of human wisdom is laid to rest in repositories.
It is in the gift for employing all the vicissitudes of life to one's own advantage and to that of one's craft that a large part of genius consists. Life
Just as the performance of the vilest and most wicked deeds requires spirit and talent, so even the greatest demand a certain insensitivity which under other circumstances we would call stupidity.
Just as we outgrow a pair of trousers, we outgrow acquaintances, libraries, principles, etc., at times before they're worn out and times - and this is the worst of all - before we have new ones.
Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.
Man is to be found in reason, God in the passions. Religion & God
Man loves company - even if it is only that of a small burning candle.
Many things about our bodies would not seem to us so filthy and obscene if we did not have the idea of nobility in our heads.
Men still have to be governed by deception.
Much can be inferred about a man from his mistress: in her one beholds his weaknesses and his dreams.
Never undertake anything for which you wouldn't have the courage to ask the blessings of heaven.
Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all. War & Peace
Nothing makes one old so quickly as the ever-present thought that one is growing older.
Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.
Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm.
One might call habit a moral friction: something that prevents the mind from gliding over things but connects it with them and makes it hard for it to free itself from them.
One must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.
Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own. Time ;History
Prejudices are so to speak the mechanical instincts of men: through their prejudices they do without any effort many things they would find too difficult to think through to the point of resolving to do them.
Sickness is mankind's greatest defect.
That man is the noblest creature may also be inferred from the fact that no other creature has yet contested this claim.
The fly that doesn't want to be swatted is most secure when it lights on the fly-swatter.
The Greeks possessed a knowledge of human nature we seem hardly able to attain to without passing through the strengthening hibernation of a new barbarism. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Nature
The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.
The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.
The most perfect ape cannot draw an ape; only man can do that; but, likewise, only man regards the ability to do this as a sign of superiority.
The noble simplicity in the works of nature only too often originates in the noble shortsightedness of him who observes it. Nature
The pleasures of the imagination are as it were only drawings and models which are played with by poor people who cannot afford the real thing.
The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.
There are people who possess not so much genius as a certain talent for perceiving the desires of the century, or even of the decade, before it has done so itself.
There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.
There exists a species of transcendental ventriloquism by means of which men can be made to believe that something said on earth comes from Heaven.
To be content with life or to live merrily, rather all that is required is that we bestow on all things only a fleeting, superficial glance; the more thoughtful we become the more earnest we grow. Life
To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite.
To err is human also in so far as animals seldom or never err, or at least only the cleverest of them do so.
To grow wiser means to learn to know better and better the faults to which this instrument with which we feel and judge can be subject.
To receive applause for works which do not demand all our powers hinders our advance towards a perfecting of our spirit. It usually means that thereafter we stand still.
Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much.
We are obliged to regard many of our original minds as crazy at least until we have become as clever as they are.
We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing. Nature
We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.
We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him.
What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Nature
What is the good of drawing conclusions from experience? I don't deny we sometimes draw the right conclusions, but don't we just as often draw the wrong ones?
When an acquaintance goes by I often step back from my window, not so much to spare him the effort of acknowledging me as to spare myself the embarrassment of seeing that he has not done so.
With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.
With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.
With prophecies the commentator is often a more important man than the prophet.