The world is moving faster and faster, but where are we going?I think one of the reasons why things are getting blurry is because there is not much meaning.

— Alan Lightman

The most delightful Alan Lightman quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

If a person holds no ambitions in this world, he suffers unknowingly.

If a person holds ambitions, he suffers knowingly, but very slowly.

42

Some say it is best not to go near the center of time.

Life is a vessel of sadness, but is noble to live life and without time there is no life. Others disagree. They would rather have an eternity of contentment, even if that eternity were fixed and frozen, like a butterfly mounted in a case.

30

But what is the past? Could it be, the firmness of the past is just illusion? Could the past be a kaleidoscope, a pattern of images that shift with each disturbance of a sudden breeze, a laugh, a thought? And if the shift is everywhere, how would we know?

28

Is it possible for a person to love without wanting love back? Is anything so pure? Or is love, by its nature, a reciprocity, like oceans and clouds, an evaporating of seawater and a replenishing by rain?

12

Despite our strongly felt kinship and oneness with nature, all the evidence suggests that nature doesn't care one whit about us. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen without the slightest consideration for human inhabitants.

9

For me, consciousness is the most interesting unsolved problem of science, and, in fact, we may never know what it is about a particular arrangement of neurons that gives rise to consciousness. Our consciousness, like the air we breathe or like the passage of time, is central to our existence as intelligent beings.

8

All writers have roots they draw from - travel, work, family.

My roots are in science and it is fertile ground for fiction.

5

-But rational thoughts lead only to rational thoughts, whereas irrational thoughts lead to new experiences.

5

Order is the law of nature, the universal trend, the cosmic direction.

If time is an arrow, that arrow points toward order. The future is pattern, organization, union, intensification; the past, randomness, confusion, disintegration, dissipation.

4

Sadness is no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum.

4

Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain.

Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness is no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock.

4

In a world of fixed future, life is an infinite corridor of rooms, one room lit at each moment, the next room dark but prepared. We walk from room to room, look into the room that is lit, the present moment, then walk on. We do not know the rooms ahead, but we know we cannot change them. We are spectators of our lives.

4

About Alan Lightman

Quotes 133 sayings
Profession Physicist
Birthday October 16

The urge to discover, to invent, to know the unknown, seems so deeply human that we cannot imagine our history without it.

4

The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in atime of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone.

4

I re-read a lot of books that I like a lot.

There are some books that I try to reread every couple of years. A good book changes for you every few years because you are in a different place in your own life.

4

There is a place where time stands still.

...illuminated by only the most feeble red light, for light is diminished to almost nothing at the center of time, its vibrations slowed to echoes in vast canyons, its intensity reduced to the faint glow of fireflies.

4

Another strand of my writing is the importance of the idea.

If you think about fiction writing as a spectrum, where at one end of the spectrum in the infrared, are the story tellers, and the people for whom creation of wonderful characters and telling a good story is the most important thing.

4

I think e-mail is representative of our fast food mentality in the United States, where everything has gotten faster and faster, and we're required to respond to inputs more quickly with less time for thought and reflection. I believe that we need to slow down.

3

While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back.

3

Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments, and at others to ride the passion and exuberance.

3

We're plugged in 24 hours a day now. We're all part of one big machine, whether we are conscious of that or not. And if we can't unplug from that machine, eventually we're going to become mindless.

3

It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy.

3

A person who cannot imagine the future is a person who cannot contemplate the results of his actions. Some are thus paralyzed into inaction.

3

The history of science can be viewed as the recasting of phenomena that were once thought to be accidents as phenomena that can be understood in terms of fundamental causes and principles.

2

A world in which time is absolute is a world of consolation.

For while the movements of people are unpredictable, the movement of time is predictable. While people can be doubted, time cannot be doubted. While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back.

2

The book is finished by the reader. A good novel should invite the reader in and let the reader participate in the creative experience and bring their own life experiences to it, interpret with their own individual life experiences. Every reader gets something different from a book and every reader, in a sense, completes it in a different way.

2

The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or joy.

2

In this world, artists are joyous. Unpredictability is the life of their paintings, their music, their novels. They delight in events not forecasted, happenings without explanation, retrospective.

1

I have always loved magic realism as a form of writing.

I have also been fascinated for a long time with the intersection of science and religion.

1

Music is, of course, a universal emotional experience, cutting across cultures and languages. I studied piano for ten years as a child and consider that experience one of the most valuable in my life.

1

It's not necessarily a large number of people that affect the culture.

You don't count the number of influential voices, you weigh them. A hundred people can affect the culture.

1

A life is a moment in season. A life is one snowfall. A life is one autumn day. A life is the delicate, rapid edge of a closing door's shadow. A life is a brief movement of arms and of legs.

1

You say, "Something important really happened here.

I really had hold of something I was visited by the muse." And that's enough to make you continue the months and years to finish the whole book.

1

I think all tragedies are best told with some humor.

You have to relieve the darkness to let the reader get through it. Also, that life has happiness and sadness mixed together. If you told a story that was all darkness, it wouldn't be real.

1

I have too many friends who tell me that they spend the first hour of every morning going through their e-mail messages. I'd like to use my time more carefully.

0

A writer is someone who has a one-man tent in the desert and occasionally he sees the footprint of an other writer - in the form of a review or something.

0

I've taken a philosophical position on e-mail.

Although I think it's a wonderful communication technology, and it has a lot of good uses, it is abused quite a lot.

0

No one knows the nature of God, or even if God exists.

In a sense, all of our religions are literary works of the imagination.

0

Scientists will forever have to live with the fact that their product is, in the end, impersonal.

0

As both a scientist and a humanist myself, I have struggled to understand different claims to knowledge, and I have eventually come to a formulation of the kind of religious belief that would, in my view, be compatible with science.

0

The world is moving faster and faster, but where are we going?

0

As a scientist, I don't believe science will ever discover whether God exists.

Nor do I believe religion will ever prove it.

0

What sense is there in continuing when one has seen the future?

0

"The Diagnosis" is by far my most ambitious book.

I such great hopes for it... there was so much I wanted to do with the book. I was extremely insecure about it for several years. Just didn't know whether I would finish the book much less for it to come close to what I intended. I think that for any novel you never know exactly how the book is going to turn out...

0

Writers are a loosely knit community - community is an overstated word.

Writers don't see each other very much.

0

In a world without future, each parting of friends is a death.

In a world without future, each loneliness is final. In a world without future, each laugh is the last laugh. In a world without future, beyond the present lies nothingness, and people cling to the present as if hanging from a cliff.

0

I spend a lot of time just listening to the ospreys.

I watch them go through their life cycle. They spend the winter in South America. The mother and father osprey stay together. It's a monogamous relationship. And every summer they raise a new brood of children. They came back to the nest in the middle of April. They take separate vacations in the winter - the mother and father.

0

One metaphor for how we are living is that you see so may people with cell phones. In restaurants, walking, they have cell phones clamped to their to heads. When they are on their cell phones they are not where their bodies are...they are somewhere else in hyperspace. They are not grounded. We have become disembodied. By being always somewhere else we are nowhere.

0

We've lost our way, we have lost our centeredness.

We don't have the time, literally, to think during the day. To listen to ourselves think. To think about where we are going, who we are, what's important. I would bet most people don't have thirty minutes in a day where they can just sit down and think. Or maybe they don't have to be sitting, they can be walking.

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