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57 Notable Quotes By Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Famous As: Physicist, satirist, and Anglophile
Born On: July 1, 1742
Died On: February 24, 1799
Born In: Ober-Ramstadt, Germany
Died At Age: 56
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was a celebrated German satirist, Anglophile and scientist. He is renowned for ‘Sudelbucher’, notebooks or Scrapbooks which were published posthumously. He became the first German scientist to hold a professorship specifically dedicated to experimental physics. He is also well-known for unearthing tree shaped electrical discharge patters which are now known as ‘Lichtenberg Figures’. Lichtenberg was one of the most sought-after and idolized man in contemporary European intellectual circles and also the first one who introduced apparatus for experiments in the lectures. He is also accredited for building a large electrophorus which used induction to generate electricity. Following is a compilation of thoughts and quotable quotes which have been excerpted from his work, experiments, scrapbooks, notebooks, writings, researches and life. Go through the quotations and sayings by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
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Don't judge a man by his opinions, but what his opinions have made of him.

Don't judge a man by his opinions, but what his opinions have made of him.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The thoughts written on the walls of madhouses by their inmates might be worth publicizing.

The thoughts written on the walls of madhouses by their inmates might be worth publicizing.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Nothing is more conductive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all.

Nothing is more conductive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all.

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

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

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth.

The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth.

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

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

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The highest level than can be reached by a mediocre but experienced mind is a talent for uncovering the weaknesses of those greater than itself.

The highest level than can be reached by a mediocre but experienced mind is a talent for uncovering the weaknesses of those greater than itself.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Man…who lives in three places – in the past, in the present, and in the future – can be unhappy if one of these three is worthless. Religion has even added a fourth – eternity.

Man…who lives in three places – in the past, in the present, and in the future – can be unhappy if one of these three is worthless. Religion has even added a fourth – eternity.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.

There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?

When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Whenever he composes a critical review, I have been told, he gets an enormous erection.

Whenever he composes a critical review, I have been told, he gets an enormous erection.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
I forget most of what I read, just as I do most of what I have eaten, but I know that both contribute no less to the conservation of my mind and my body on that account.

I forget most of what I read, just as I do most of what I have eaten, but I know that both contribute no less to the conservation of my mind and my body on that account.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
One's first step in wisdom is to question everything - and one's last is to come to terms with everything.

One's first step in wisdom is to question everything - and one's last is to come to terms with everything.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Honest unaffected distrust of human abilities under all circumstances is the surest sign of strength of mind.

Honest unaffected distrust of human abilities under all circumstances is the surest sign of strength of mind.

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

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

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
There is no mistaking a good book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.

There is no mistaking a good book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard.

It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
If countries were named after the words you first hear when you go there, England would have to be called

If countries were named after the words you first hear when you go there, England would have to be called "Damn It".

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The man was such an intellectual he was of almost no use.

The man was such an intellectual he was of almost no use.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
You believe I run after the strange because I do not know the beautiful; no, it is because you do not know the beautiful that I seek the strange.

You believe I run after the strange because I do not know the beautiful; no, it is because you do not know the beautiful that I seek the strange.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
You can make a good living from soothsaying but not from truthsaying

You can make a good living from soothsaying but not from truthsaying

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.

With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Some people come by the name of genius in the same way that certain insects come by the name of centipede -- not because they have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above 14.

Some people come by the name of genius in the same way that certain insects come by the name of centipede -- not because they have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above 14.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
I am confident of my ability to demonstrate that one can sometimes believe in something and yet not believe in it. Nothing is less fathomable than the systems that motivate our actions.

I am confident of my ability to demonstrate that one can sometimes believe in something and yet not believe in it. Nothing is less fathomable than the systems that motivate our actions.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
A sure sign of a good book is that you like it more the older you get.

A sure sign of a good book is that you like it more the older you get.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Much reading has brought upon us a learned barbarism

Much reading has brought upon us a learned barbarism

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
To make clever people believe we are what we are not is in most instances harder than really to become what we want to seem to be.

To make clever people believe we are what we are not is in most instances harder than really to become what we want to seem to be.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Diogenes, filthily attired, paced across the splendid carpets in Plato's dwelling. Thus, said he, do I trample on the pride of Plato. Yes, Plato replied, but only with another kind of pride.

Diogenes, filthily attired, paced across the splendid carpets in Plato's dwelling. Thus, said he, do I trample on the pride of Plato. Yes, Plato replied, but only with another kind of pride.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Just as there are polysyllabic words that say very little, so there are also monosyllabic words of infinite meaning.

Just as there are polysyllabic words that say very little, so there are also monosyllabic words of infinite meaning.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
To make a vow is a greater sin than to break one.

To make a vow is a greater sin than to break one.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
It is impossible to have bad taste, but many people have none at all.

It is impossible to have bad taste, but many people have none at all.

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

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

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The fly that does not want to be swatted is safest if it sits on the fly-swat.

The fly that does not want to be swatted is safest if it sits on the fly-swat.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Everything that matters in life flows through tubes.

Everything that matters in life flows through tubes.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.

If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.

The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
There is something in our minds like sunshine and the weather, which is not under our control. When I write, the best things come to me from I know not where.

There is something in our minds like sunshine and the weather, which is not under our control. When I write, the best things come to me from I know not where.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
What I do not like about our definitions of genius is that there is in them nothing of the day of judgment, nothing of resounding through eternity and nothing of the footsteps of the Almighty.

What I do not like about our definitions of genius is that there is in them nothing of the day of judgment, nothing of resounding through eternity and nothing of the footsteps of the Almighty.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
When they have discovered truth in nature they fling it into a book, where it is even worse hands.

When they have discovered truth in nature they fling it into a book, where it is even worse hands.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
If we thought more for ourselves we would have very many more bad books and very many more good ones.

If we thought more for ourselves we would have very many more bad books and very many more good ones.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
The excuses we make to ourselves when we want to do something are excellent material for soliloquies, for they are rarely made except when we are alone, and are very often made aloud.

The excuses we make to ourselves when we want to do something are excellent material for soliloquies, for they are rarely made except when we are alone, and are very often made aloud.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
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.

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.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
I would give something to know for precisely whom the deeds were really done, of which it is publicly stated they were done 'for the Fatherland'.

I would give something to know for precisely whom the deeds were really done, of which it is publicly stated they were done 'for the Fatherland'.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
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 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.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Libraries can in general be too narrow or too wide for the soul.

Libraries can in general be too narrow or too wide for the soul.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
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.

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.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Is it not strange that men are so keen to fight for religion and so unkeen to live according to its precepts?

Is it not strange that men are so keen to fight for religion and so unkeen to live according to its precepts?

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Reading means borrowing. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms

Reading means borrowing. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
First we have to believe, and then we believe.

First we have to believe, and then we believe.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Many are less fortunate than you’ may not be a roof to live under, but it will serve to retire beneath in the event of a shower.

Many are less fortunate than you’ may not be a roof to live under, but it will serve to retire beneath in the event of a shower.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Every condition of the soul has its own sign and expression...So you will see how hard it is to seem original without being so.

Every condition of the soul has its own sign and expression...So you will see how hard it is to seem original without being so.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Where the frontier of science once was is now the centre.

Where the frontier of science once was is now the centre.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
...if we gained only one incontestable truth every ten years from each of our philosophical writers the harvest we reaped would be sufficient.

...if we gained only one incontestable truth every ten years from each of our philosophical writers the harvest we reaped would be sufficient.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Kenntnis der Mittel ohne eine eigentliche Anwendung, ja ohne Gabe und Willen, sie anzuwenden, ist, was man jetzt gemeiniglich Gelehrsamkeit nennt.

Kenntnis der Mittel ohne eine eigentliche Anwendung, ja ohne Gabe und Willen, sie anzuwenden, ist, was man jetzt gemeiniglich Gelehrsamkeit nennt.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg