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|Quotations by Richard Feynman|
|No government has the right - No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literary or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.|
Looking back at the worst times - Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.
Live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing - I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything. There are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask "Why are we here?" I might think about it a little bit, and if I can't figure it out then I go on to something else. But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose.
Study hard what interests you - Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.
What others think you ought to accomplish - You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.
Fall in love with some activity - Fall in love with some activity, and do it!
Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best.
Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all.
The beginning of time for the human race - We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
Reality takes precedence over public relations - For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
This fantastically marvelous universe - It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.
You say you are a nameless man. You are not. - You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office. You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless to yourself -- it is too sad a way to be. Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of the naïve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher's ideals are.
Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? - So my antagonist said, "Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it's impossible?" "No", I said, "I can't prove it's impossible. It's just very unlikely". At that he said, "You are very unscientific. If you can't prove it impossible then how can you say that it's unlikely?" But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.
Ordinary fools are alright - Ordinary fools are alright; you can talk to them and try to help them out. But pompous fools -- guys who are fools and covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus – THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn't a faker; an honest fool is alright. But a dishonest fool is terrible!
Scientific knowledge is a body of statements - Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.
The beauty of your theory doesn't matter - It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.
The highest forms of understanding - The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.
We are trying to prove ourselves wrong - We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.
Look at the bird and see what it is doing - You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.
Math and the beauty of nature - To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty of nature. . . . If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.
Recognizing kinship with animals - The universality of the deep chemistry of living things is indeed a fantastic and beautiful thing. And all the time we human beings have been too proud to even recognize our kinship with the animals.
If all scientific knowledge was lost - If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis . . . that all things are made of atoms -- little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.
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