High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of
earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split
clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up
the long delirious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle
flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high untresspassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and
touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer, John Gillespie Magee, Jr. No 412 squadron, RCAF Killed 11 December 1941
For All That a Man........has a natural instinct. Against
any Woman’s compulsion to comprehend Him totally, however indebted He may be to Her, however loving He is of Her,
however fast friends They may be, against Her thinking She knows all about Him; She can record every moment of His day
and night, capture Him, pin His wings against a board. He needs Himself, some sense of Himself beyond Her, His
own self. It’s hard for a Man when He loves deeply and well. But for Her sake, as well as His own, He is Himself and
has a private Self. He does love and play individually. No matter how close She is, He has to die Alone. For this
good reason, if for none other, no Man, no Woman, however much in love, ever gives up being alone. He never gives
up individually. He never gives up privacy. He lives for the best of Everyone. This Must be true of Woman, as well.
Comedian Steven Wright "I woke up one morning and
all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates."
He also said: 1. I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize. 2.
Borrow money from pessimists - they don't expect it back. 2. Half the people you know are below average. 3. 99% of lawyers
give the rest a bad name. 4. 42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. 5. A conscience is what hurts when all
your other parts feel so good. 6. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. 7. If you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain. 8. All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand. 9. The early bird may get
the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. 10. I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met. 11.
OK, so what's the speed of dark? 12. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink? 13. If everything seems to be
going well, you have obviously overlooked something. 14. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm. 15. When everything
is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. 16. Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy. 17.
Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now. 18. I intend to live forever - so far, so good. 19. If Barbie
is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends? 20. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. 21.
What happens if you get scared half to death twice? 22. My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made
your horn louder." 23. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name? 24. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all
evidence that you tried. 25. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. 26. Experience is something
you don't get until just after you need it. 27. The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread. 28.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. 29. The problem with the gene pool is that
there is no lifeguard. 30. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up. 31. Everyone has a photographic
memory, some just don't have film.
Nothing more be said here. I lied. Here are some
words by my favorite artist....MC Escher
The following is from Escher on Escher, Abrams Publishing, NY, pages 16-17:
humans are always after contrasts, and without contrast in a more general sense life is impossible on our solid ball of earth,
which, revolving around its axis, floats so happily through infinite space in spite of all human blunders. Do you see it,
basking in its mother's light, patient and faithful to the law that dominates it, floating through the pure emptiness? I often
see it, a touching and majestic sight, at night before I go to sleep. But back to the matter at hand. Life is possible
only if the senses can perceive contrasts. A "monotonal" organ sound that is held too long becomes unbearable to the ear,
as does, for the eye, an extended solid-color wall surface or even a cloudless sky (when we are lying on our backs and see
neither sun nor horizon). It seems, so I have been told, that the following torture was practiced by the people of an ancient
culture: the head of a prisoner who was to receive punishment was tied immovably in place in such a way that his eyes could
not observe anything other than a evenly lit, smooth, white-plastered wall surface (one could possible imagine it as being
concave). The sight that "nothing" completely lacking in contrast, on which the eye cannot find a supporting or resting
point (as a result of which an awareness of the concept of "distance" also disappears), becomes in time unbearable and leads
to insanity, since our willpower isn't strong enough to keep our eyes closed continuously. Isn't it fascinating to realize
that no image, no form, not even a shade or color, "exists" on its own, that among everything that's visually observable we
can refer only to relationships and to contrasts? If one quantity cannot be compared to another, then no quantity exists.
There is no "black" on its own, nor "white" either. They only manifest themselves together and by means of each other. We
only assign them a value by comparing them with each other.
ABOUT GROWING OLD-
I feel like my body has
gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to
take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time
I got my leotards on, the class was over.
--- Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you think
is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked. She simply replied, "No peer pressure."
--- The nice
thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.
--- Just before the funeral services, the undertaker
came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98," she replied. "Two years older than me." "So
you're 96," the undertaker commented. She responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?
-- I've sure gotten old!
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees. I've fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't
hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
I have bouts with dementia, poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. I can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. I've
lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license
--- An elderly woman decided to prepare
her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes
scattered over Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then I can be sure my daughters visit me twice
---My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.
---I'm getting into swing dancing. Not on purpose,
mind you...some parts of my body are just prone to swinging.
---It's scary when you start making the same noises
as your coffeemaker.
---These days, about half the stuff in my shopping cart says "For fast relief."
think of it as getting hot flashes. Think of it as your inner child playing with matches.
---Don't let aging get you
down. It's too hard to get back up!
--- Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because
you stop laughing.
- --THE SENILITY PRAYER: Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good
fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Albert Einstein 1879-1955 Personal Words
live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
Each of us visits this Earth
involuntarily, and without an invitation. For me, it is enough to wonder at the secrets.
If I were to start taking
care of my grooming, I would no longer be my own self ... so the hell with it ... I will continue to be unconcerned about
it, which surely has the advantage that I’m left in peace by many a fop who would otherwise come to see me.
reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.
There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is. I believe in the latter.
One had to cram all
this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on
me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me
for an entire year.
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
Of all the communities
available to us there is not one I would want to devote myself to, except for the society of the true searchers, which has
very few living members at any time.
How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of
goodwill! In such a place even I would be an ardent patriot.
I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.
hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead,
and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving.
I think and
think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
Since that deluge
of newspaper articles I have been so flooded with questions, invitations, suggestions, that I keep dreaming I am roasting
in Hell, and the mailman is the devil eternally yelling at me, showering me with more bundles of letters at my head because
I have not answered the old ones.
I have become rather like King Midas, except that everything turns not into gold
but into a circus.
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 my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
I do not believe that civilization will be wiped
out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the Earth might be killed, but enough men capable
of thinking, and enough books, would be left to start again, and civilization could be restored. (Atlantic Monthly, November
There has already been published by the bucketfuls such brazen lies and utter fictions about me that I would
long since have gone to my grave if I had let myself pay attention to that. (Letter to Max Brod, 22 February 1949)
is it that nobody understands me and everybody likes me? (New York Times, 12 March 1944)
DISCOVERY AND CREATIVITY
is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual
flight from wonder.
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He
experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest
to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to enhance all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
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. Never lose a holy curiosity.
light of knowledge attained, the happy achievement seems almost a matter of course, and any intelligent student can grasp
it without too much trouble. But the years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alterations
of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light – only those who have experienced it can understand it.
who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
For the creation of a theory the mere collection of recorded
phenomena never suffices – there must always be added a free invention of the human mind that attacks the heart of the matter.
(Albert Einstein: The human side, new glimpses from his archives)
I think that only daring speculation can lead
us further and not accumulation of facts. (Albert Einstein, Michele Besso: Correspondance 1903-1955)
I am enough
of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination
encircles the world. (The Saturday Evening Post, 26 October 1929)
Great spirits have always found violent opposition
from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but
honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thoughts in clear form.
(Letter to I.M. Cohen, quoted in New York World-Telegram, 19 March 1940)
Creating a new theory is not like destroying
an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering
unexpected connections between our starting point and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still
exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles
on our adventurous way up. (The evolution of physics)
There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental
laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance. (Preface
in: Max Planck, Where is science going?)
Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for insects as well as for the stars. Human beings, vegetables or
cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.
What I am really interested
in is whether God could have made the world in a different way; that is whether the necessity of logical simplicity leaves
any freedom at all.
God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.
to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element.
I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the unlimitable superior
who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction
of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
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 of the religiosity
of someone more naive. (Albert Einstein: The human side, new glimpses from his archives)
Quantum mechanics is certainly
imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring
us any closer to the secret of the ‘old one’. I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing dice. (The Born-Einstein
God is subtle but he is not malicious. (Inscription in Fine Hall, Princeton University)
TRUTH AND CERTAINTY
Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence
of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works
As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly
inadequate that intelligence is.
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked
by the laughter of the gods.
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
The difference between what the most and the least
learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.
If most of us are ashamed of shabby
clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.
Reality is merely an
illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
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.
Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish. (Cosmic
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. (Geometry and Experience)
How wretchedfully inadequate is the theoretical
physicist as he stands before Nature – and before his students. (Albert Einstein: The human side, new glimpses from his
What I see in Nature is a magnificant structure that we can comprehend only imperfectly, and that must fill
a thinking person with a feeling of ‘humility’. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism (Albert
Einstein: The human side, new glimpses from his archives)
MINDS AND MENTAL MATTERS
We should take care
not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
The problems that exist
in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.
There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never
prove how it got there.
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
for its own sake, as in music! When I have no special problem to occupy my mind, I love to reconstruct proofs of mathematical
and physical theorems that have long been known to me. There is no goal in this, merely an opportunity to indulge in the pleasant
occupation of thinking. (Albert Einstein: The human side, new glimpses from his archives)
SCIENCE AND SCIENTISTS
Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.
One of the strongest motives
that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters
of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective
perception and thought.
Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us
little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.
No amount of
experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
A theory can be proved by experiment;
but no path leads from experiment to the birth of a theory.
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.
If we knew what it was we
were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
The state exists for man, not man for the state. The same may
be said of science. These are old phrases, coined by people who saw in human individuality the highest human value. I would
hesitate to repeat them, were it not for the ever recurring danger that they may be forgotten, especially in these days of
organization and stereotypes.
All our thoughts and concepts are called up by sense-experiences and have a meaning only
in reference to these sense-experiences. On the other hand, however, they are products of the spontaneous activity of our
minds; they are thus in no wise logical consequences of the contents of these sense-experiences. If, therefore, we wish to
grasp the essence of a complex of abstract notions we must for the one part investigate the mutual relationships between the
concepts and the assertions made about them; for the other, we must investigate how they are related to the experiences. (Space-Time,
article for Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1926)
Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes,
where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science.
was this huge world out there, independent of us human beings and standing before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least
partly accessible to our inspection and thought. The contemplation of that world beckoned like a liberation.
the theory that decides what we can observe.
If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.
In error are
those theorists, who believe that theory comes inductively from experience.
Technological progress is like an axe
in the hands of a pathological criminal.
By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish
and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what on has recognized
to be true. It is evident that any restriction on academic freedom acts in such a way as to hamper the dissemination of knowledge
among the people and thereby impedes national judgment and action.
The physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher
the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations; for he himself knows best and feels most surely where the shoe
pinches.... he must try to make clear in his own mind just how far the concepts which he uses are justified... The whole of
science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking. (Ideas and Opinions)
One may say ‘the eternal mystery
of the world is its comprehensibility’. (Ideas and Opinions)
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. (Ideas and Opinions)
The most beautiful
thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. (What I Believe)
without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. (Out of my later years)
Science is the attempt to make
the chaotic diversity of our sense-experience correspond to a logically uniform system of thought. (Out of my later years)
great aim of science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses
or axioms. (Life, 9 January 1950)
Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however
it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. (The evolution of physics)
Most of the fundamental ideas
of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. (The evolution
In our endeavour to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of
a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears the ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he
is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may
never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his
picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility of the meaning of such a comparison. (The evolution
Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be
a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.
If A equal success, then the formula is A equals X
plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut.
Only two things are infinite: the universe
and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the former.
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem.
It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
The hardest thing in the world to understand
is the income tax.
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. This disgrace to civilization should be done
away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism,
how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base
an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
True art is characterized
by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
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.
every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.
The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow
creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.
I don’t know how man will fight World War III,
but I do know how they will fight World War IV; with sticks and stones.
An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.
highest destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.
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 has become appallingly clear that our technology
has surpassed our humanity.
A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.
Weakness of attitude becomes
weakness of character.
Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
Peace cannot be kept by
force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must,
above all, be a sheep.
The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for
someone who’s dead.
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
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 individual must not merely wait and criticize, he must defend the cause
the best he can. The fate of the world will be such as the world deserves.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t
understand it well enough.
Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Put your hand on a hot
stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’s relativity.
release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant
beauty, which our dull facilities can comprehend only in the most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the
center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of the devoutly religious men.
(What I Believe)