“Non Cogitant, Ergo Non Sunt”

Aphorisms of 18th-century German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg:

  • “There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.”
  • “To read means to borrow; to create out of one’s readings is paying off one’s debts.”
  • “How close may our thoughts come at times to grazing on a great discovery?”
  • “I would often rather read what a famous author has cut from one of his works than what he has let stand.”
  • “A golden rule: one must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.”
  • “My body is that part of the world which my thoughts can change. Even imaginary illnesses can become real ones. In the rest of the world, my hypotheses cannot change the order of things.”
  • “It’s questionable whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel we aren’t lapsing into precisely the mistake of the child who hits the chair he bumps into.”
  • “What makes a prolific author is often not his great knowledge but rather that fortunate relation between his abilities and his taste, by virtue of which the latter always approves what the former have produced.”
  • “To make astute people believe that one is what one is not, is harder in most cases than actually to become what one wants to appear.”
  • “Indisputably, masculine beauty has not yet been portrayed enough by those hands which alone could do so — feminine hands.”

“There is a great difference between still believing something and believing it again. Still to believe that the moon affects the plants reveals stupidity and superstition, but to believe it again is a sign of philosophy and reflection.”