Georg C. Lichtenberg Quotes (77 Quotes)


    He who says he hates every kind of flattery, and says it in earnest, certainly does not yet know every kind of flattery.

    We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing.

    If people should ever start to do only what is necessary millions would die of hunger.

    It is almost everywhere the case that soon after it is begotten the greater part of human wisdom is laid to rest in repositories.

    Be wary of passing the judgment: obscure. To find something obscure poses no difficult, elephants and poodles find many things obscure.


    A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out.

    Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates.

    Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all.

    I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.

    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.

    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.

    Nothing can contribute more to peace of soul than the lack of any opinion whatever.

    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.


    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.


    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.

    The fly that doesn't want to be swatted is most secure when it lights on the fly-swatter.

    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.

    If all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly.

    With prophecies the commentator is often a more important man than the prophet.

    I have remarked very clearly that I am often of one opinion when I am lying down and of another when I am standing up...

    With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.

    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.

    To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite.

    A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.

    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.

    The noble simplicity in the works of nature only too often originates in the noble shortsightedness of him who observes it.


    With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.

    One must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.

    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.

    We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.

    The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.


    Even truth needs to be clad in new garments if it is to appeal to a new age.

    What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others.

    If all mankind were suddenly to practice honesty, many thousands of people would be sure to starve.

    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.

    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?

    That man is the noblest creature may also be inferred from the fact that no other creature has yet contested this claim.

    Much can be inferred about a man from his mistress: in her one beholds his weaknesses and his dreams.


    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.

    Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.

    To err is human also in so far as animals seldom or never err, or at least only the cleverest of them do so.


    More Georg C. Lichtenberg Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Nature - Wisdom & Knowledge - Mind - Opinions - Reasoning - Heaven - Efforts - Law & Regulation - People - Stupidity - Genius - Mankind - Age - God - Dreams - Love - Discovery & Invention - Judgment - View All Georg C. Lichtenberg Quotations

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