110+ Alan Lightman Quotes On Education, Technology And Praise Of Wasting Time

Top 10 Alan Lightman Quotes (BEST)

  1. 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.
  2. If a person holds no ambitions in this world, he suffers unknowingly. If a person holds ambitions, he suffers knowingly, but very slowly.
  3. -But rational thoughts lead only to rational thoughts, whereas irrational thoughts lead to new experiences.
  4. All writers have roots they draw from - travel, work, family. My roots are in science and it is fertile ground for fiction.
  5. 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.
  6. Sadness is no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum.
  7. The urge to discover, to invent, to know the unknown, seems so deeply human that we cannot imagine our history without it.
  8. Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments, and at others to ride the passion and exuberance.
  9. A person who cannot imagine the future is a person who cannot contemplate the results of his actions. Some are thus paralyzed into inaction.
  10. While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back.

Alan Lightman Short Quotes

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  • Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.
  • I should have written books instead of reading them.
  • Everyone shares the same fate.
  • Writers read essays and serious thinkers and serious readers... that is a small population.
  • My second novel, "Good Benito", was not finished. I wished that I had spent another year with it.
  • It's the Platonic philosophy in The Republic that philosophers should lead the country.
  • Scientists will forever have to live with the fact that their product is, in the end, impersonal.
  • The target of power is more interesting than its quantity.
  • Continents of memory had been lost.
  • No one ever expects poetry to sell...

Alan Lightman Quotes On Life

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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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

I go to live in Maine for the summer. Without computer, and without the telephone service we are mercifully without the faxes and e-mails. So it's really about two and a half months that I'll feel like I can recover some silence in my life...which is so hard to find. — Alan Lightman

Who would fare better in this world of fitful time? Those who have seen the future and live only one life? Or those who have not seen the future and wait to live life? Or those who deny the future and live two lives? — Alan Lightman

A good book changes for you every few years because you are in a different place in your own life. That's a sign of a good novel. Not only will two different readers get something different but so will a single reader at different points in his life. — Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman Quotes On Love

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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? — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

I value my correspondence with writers...I was in New York and had lunch with Oliver Sachs and compared notes with him - he is someone I really like. I love staying in written correspondence with some writers. That's enough for me. — Alan Lightman

I love the fact publishers are still publishing unprofitable material. It's a challenge to the powers that be. It's saying there is a real literature in this country and we will keep publishing it. — Alan Lightman

Oh, love is very much a physical thing.... I realize that it's very complicated, and I'm sure it can't be traced to individual neurons and hormones, but I think it's very much a physiological sensation that takes place in the brain. — Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman Quotes On World

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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. — Alan Lightman

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

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. — Alan Lightman

In a world in which time is a circle, every handshake, every kiss, every birth, every word, will be repeated precisely. — Alan Lightman

In a world without future, each moment is the end of the world. — Alan Lightman

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

People are content to live in contradictory worlds, so long as they know the reason for each. — Alan Lightman

Imagine a world in which there is no time. Only images. — Alan Lightman

Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly. — Alan Lightman

A world with one month is a world of equality. — Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman Quotes On Happenings

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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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

Events, once happened, lose reality, alter with a glance, a storm, a night. In time, the past never happened. But who could know? Who could know that the past is not as solid as this instant. — Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman Famous Quotes And Sayings

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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? — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

Every essay - the subject matter of every essay - is ultimately about the essayist; him or herself. That ultimately, every essayist is writing about his or her view of the world. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

"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... — Alan Lightman

For my students who are trying to learn the craft of writing in a writing class - contemporary literature is what's most useful. — Alan Lightman

The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. — Alan Lightman

That has been the great achievement of our age: to so thoroughly flood the planet with megabits that every image and fact has become a digitized disembodied nothingness. With magnificent determination, our species has advanced from Stone Age to Industrial Revolution to Digital Emptiness. We've become weightless, in the bad sense of the word. — Alan Lightman

In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along. — Alan Lightman

I have a number of vague ideas where I just have the core or kernel of the idea. I feel like I need some time for my mind to fill up again. I feel empty. Right now. — Alan Lightman

The Book of Telling tells of a woman's journey to uncover the secret life of her father and to find herself in the process, an unusual counterpoint between personal history and the history of a young nation. Haunting, powerful, and beautifully written. — Alan Lightman

Novels aren't pedagogical instruments, or instructions in law or physics or any other discipline. A novel has to be an emotional experience, a trip of the imagination, and because science has raised so many issues that concern and affect humans, it's a good starting place for me. — Alan Lightman

Don't you feel something magical when you're in love?... I do, I certainly do ... but I think that feeling of magic is a hardwired psychological response. It's a chemical thing in the brain. It's a flow of chemicals and electrical currents, and it developed over millions of years in the process of evolution to aid in the procreation of the species. — Alan Lightman

That's the fine balance of a fiction writer...to be able to give your characters enough freedom to surprise you and yet still maintain some kind of artistic control. — Alan Lightman

I'm still happy with the way Einstein's Dreams came out. That book came out of a single inspiration. I really felt like I was not creating the words, that I was hearing the words. That someone else was speaking the words to me and I was just writing them down. It was a very strange experience. That can happen with a short book. I don't think it could happen with a long book. — Alan Lightman

Except for a God who sits down after the universe begins, all other gods conflict with the assumptions of science. — Alan Lightman

I oppose any belief that contradicts experimental evidence as determined by the methods of science. All beliefs not in such contradiction may be considered as faith. Whether faith in a particular belief is beneficial or not is another matter. — Alan Lightman

You've made something grand, but it will be grander if it has feeling and beauty and harmony. — Alan Lightman

Nature is purposeless. Nature simply is. We may find nature beautiful or terrible, but those feelings are human constructions. Such utter and complete mindlessness is hard for us to accept. We feel such a strong connection to nature. But the relationship between nature and us is one-sided. There is no reciprocity. There is no mind on the other side of the wall. — Alan Lightman

I picked such seemingly disparate essays, I thought it was important to say what was the guiding principle in the selection rather than focus on any one essay. I reached for some principle that had been subconscious in me and lifted it into consciousness. Authenticity and sincerity were the most important unifying principles of all these apparently different essays. — Alan Lightman

I think Joe Leiberman has been one of the leaders of the country... people have such a broad respect for him as a moral force. — Alan Lightman

I would think that you are more fluent with the rational. It has its appeal. But the irrational permits a greater exercise of ... shall we say, power. — Alan Lightman

For it is only habit and memory that dulls the physical passion. Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first. — Alan Lightman

In fiction writing, I would say there are several different strands that have been woven through my own writing, and each influenced by a different group of writers. — Alan Lightman

The time-deaf are unable to speak what they know. For speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time. — Alan Lightman

I consider myself an essayist and a fiction writer. In the essays, I certainly have been influenced by some of the leading science essayists. Like Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, Lewis Thomas. — Alan Lightman

I wouldn't overall say that "The Diagnosis" is a funny book. I would say that it has comic moments. It's a modern tragedy. — Alan Lightman

I'm humbled and enormously grateful to be connected to [Franz] Kafka in a any way. He is one of the writers I admire. I think he has been a big influence on me. I appreciate the idea of the individual person battling the society - which is true in all his books. — Alan Lightman

If you over-plot your book you strangle your characters. Your characters have to have enough freedom and life to be able to surprise you. — Alan Lightman

I think it is always a long shot getting a book made into a film. Making that book into a film is going to be quite a challenge. — Alan Lightman

Such is the cost of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or a woman is free of the weight of the past [and the future]. — Alan Lightman

Time is a rigid, bonelike structure, extending infinitely ahead and behind, fossilizing the future as well as the past. — Alan Lightman

I still will sit down at the piano and play when I am wrestling with something emotionally or just want to move into the musical world. — Alan Lightman

Although technology is proceeding at a dizzying pace, I believe that the human mind will always have control of itself. And since the human mind has a degree of infinity and imagination unlikely to be matched by a machine for a very, very long time, I don't think that we will become the machines of the machines. — Alan Lightman

Unfortunately, public debates do not have much room for subtlety. The audience wants a quick thrust at your opponent, not a slow and convoluted series of moves. Whenever Obama uses subtleties in discussing a complex issue, he gets creamed. — Alan Lightman

Franz Kafka is an idea person. His books begin and end in ideas. Ideas have always been important to me in my writing. To the point that I have to be careful that they don't take over. — Alan Lightman

We often do not see what we do not expect to see. — Alan Lightman

My writings are an exploration, and I think a lot of writers would tell you this, but in writing, you're not simply putting down things that are already known to you. You're actually discovering in the writing process, you're actually creating knowledge. — Alan Lightman

Human beings consider themselves satisfied only compared to some other condition. A man who has owned nothing but a bicycle all of his life feels suddenly wealthy the moment he buys an automobile...But this happy sensation wears off. After a while the car becomes just another thing that he owns. Moreover, when his neighbor next door buys two cars, in an instant our man feels wretchedly poor and deprived. — Alan Lightman

As long as God does not intervene in the contemporary universe in such a way as to violate physical laws, science has no way of knowing whether God exists or not. The belief or disbelief in such a Being is therefore a matter of faith. — Alan Lightman

With a background in science I am extremely interested in the meeting ground of science, theology, and philosophy, especially the ethical questions at the border of science and theology. — Alan Lightman

Time is the clarity for seeing right and wrong. — Alan Lightman

"The Diagnosis" had ten drafts of very significant changing, where I went through the whole book, wholesale and changed everything. Then the last year or so it was making small changes. I would do something and let it sit for three months... just brood about and decide I needed to slightly change something here or there. Or one character wasn't quite right. But I think everybody goes through this. — Alan Lightman

Where are the one billion people who lived and breathed in the year 1800, only two short centuries ago? — Alan Lightman

Some make light of decisions, arguing that all possible decisions will occur. In such a world, how could one be responsible for his actions? Others hold that each decision must be considered and committed to, that without commitment there is chaos. Such people are content to live in contradictory worlds, so long as they know the reason for each. — Alan Lightman

I think what gets you through a small writing project, is just one burst of inspiration. A book, especially a longer book, it's a different kind of force that pushes you through it. It's a vision of the whole thing. — Alan Lightman

As I understand it, a universe is a ... well, a totality. A universe is everything that is, as far as the inside of the thing. — Alan Lightman

Children grow rapidly, forget the centuries-long embrace from their parents, which to them lasted but seconds. Children become adults, live far from their parents, live their own houses, learn ways of their own, suffer pain, grow old. Children curse their parents for their wrinkled skin and hoarse voices. Those now old children also want to stop time, but at another time. They want to freeze their own children at the center of time. — Alan Lightman

We live in a highly polarized society. We need to try to understand each other in respectful ways. To that end, I believe that we should make room for both spiritual atheists and thinking believers. — Alan Lightman

In fiction writing ideas have to be handled extremely carefully. You can't let your characters just be mouthpieces for your ideas. They have to live and breathe on their own. — Alan Lightman

I have for a long time loved fabulist, imaginative fiction, such as the writing of Italo Calvino, Jose Saramago, Michael Bulgakov, and Salman Rushdie. I also like the magic realist writers, such as Borges and Marquez, and feel that interesting truths can be learned about our world by exploring highly distorted worlds. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

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. — Alan Lightman

If I were not a writer, I would spend more time doing the things that I am already doing, which include doing research in physics, teaching, and running a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women in Cambodia. — Alan Lightman

When I used to play golf. It's a terrible miserable game. It's incredibly frustrating. In 18 holes you make 150 horrible shots off in the woods, in the water...You make one good shot and it brings you back the next time. With writing a long book there has to be at least one bit that has some magic in it that you can go back to. — Alan Lightman

Every reader gets something different from a book and every reader, in a sense, completes it in a different way. — Alan Lightman

Writers are a loosely knit community - community is an overstated word. Writers don't see each other very much. — Alan Lightman

Life Lessons by Alan Lightman

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  1. Alan Lightman teaches us to be mindful of our place in the universe and the importance of understanding our own mortality.
  2. He encourages us to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and to strive for balance between science and spirituality.
  3. He also reminds us to be humble and to recognize that our own understanding of the universe is limited and ever-changing.

In Conclusion

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