Isaac Asimov Quotes

Self-education is a continuing source of pleasure to me for the more I know the fuller my life is and the better I appreciate my own existence

Scientific apparatus offers a window to knowledge but as they grow more elaborate scientists spend ever more time washing the windows.

Humanity is cutting down its forests apparently oblivious to the fact that we may not be able to live without them.

And in man is a three-pound brain which as far as we know is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe.

Experimentation is the least arrogant method of gaining knowledge. The experimenter humbly asks a question of nature.

True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the nation [United States] is steadily dumbing down.

There is not a discovery in science however revolutionary however sparkling with insight that does not arise out of what went before.

Jokes of the proper kind properly told can do more to enlighten questions of politics philosophy and literature than any number of dull arguments.

Tens of millions of Americans who neither know or understand the actual arguments for or even against evolution march in the Army of the Night with their Bibles held high

Married life had taught him the futility of arguing with a female in a dark-brown mood.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

The essential building block is...the true love that is impossible to define for those who have never experienced it and unnecessary to define for those who have.

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

A good question is of course the key by which infinite answers can be educed.

Where any answer is possible all answers are meaningless.

There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer.

You can't assert an answer just because it's not something else.

The important prediction is not the automobile but the parking problem; not radio but the soap opera; not the income tax but the expense account; not the Bomb but the nuclear stalemate

Intelligence is an accident of evolution and not necessarily an advantage.

A neat and orderly laboratory is unlikely. It is after all so much a place of false starts and multiple attempts.

I consider violence an uneconomical way of attaining an end. There are always better substitutes though they may sometimes be a little less direct.

Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women's breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times?

The whole world might know you and acclaim you but someone in the past forever unreachable forever unknowing spoils it all.

Arthur Clarke says that I am first in science and second in science fiction in accordance with an agreement we have made. I say he is first in science fiction and second in science.

No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.

The most hopelessly stupid man is he who is not aware he is wise.

Only a lie that wasn't ashamed of itself could possibly succeed.

Flattery is useful when dealing with youngsters.

If you ask for too much you lose even that which you have.

The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not his art suffers.

There is an art to science and a science in art; the two are not enemies but different aspects of the whole.

It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories it's what you have to UNlearn.

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

Life is a journey but don't worry you'll find a parking spot at the end.

One of Walt Whitman's best-known poems is this one: When I heard the learn'd astronomer .... The trouble is Whitman is talking through his hat but the poor soul didn't know any better

Properly read the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

I expect death to be nothingness and for removing me from all possible fears of death I am thankful to atheism.

Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.

I am an atheist out and out. It took me a long time to say it.

It's a poor atom blaster that won't point both ways.

An atom-blaster is a good weapon but it can point both ways.

Man's greatest asset is the unsettled mind.

So then what is style? There are two chief aspects of any piece of writing: 1) what you say and 2) how you say it. The former is "content" and the latter is "style.

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won't come in.

Postulates are based on assumption and adhered to by faith. Nothing in the Universe can shake them.

We are all victimized by the natural perversity of inanimate objects...and the assorted human beings who perpetuate and maintain this perversity.

One might accept death reasoningly with every aspect of the conscious mind but the body was a brute beast that knew nothing of reason.

The history of science is full of revolutionary advances that required small insights that anyone might have had but that in fact only one person did.

There is no right to deny freedom to any object with a mind advanced enough to grasp the concept and desire the state. -(from "The Bicentennial Man) story)

The cure for advanced gullibility is to go to sleep and consider matters again the next day.

The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress.

[Social] science fiction is that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance on human beings.

It seems to me Golan that the advance of civilization is nothing but an exercise in the limiting of privacy.

Surely no child and few adults have ever watched a bird in flight without envy.

It takes more than capital to swing business. You've got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by - Advertising Initiative and Dynamics.

I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing "? to be clear.

In life unlike chess the game continues after checkmate.

Custom is second nature. Be accustomed to a bald head sufficiently accustomed and hair on it would seem monstrous.

All life is nucleic acid; the rest is commentary

There is no belief however foolish that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.

There is nothing so eternally adhesive as the memory of power.

Why is it I wonder that anyone who displays superior athletic ability is an object of admiration to his classmates while one who displays superior mental ability is an object of hatred?

How many people is the earth able to sustain?

To introduce something altogether new would mean to begin all over to become ignorant again and to run the old old risk of failing to learn.

Goodbye Hari my love. Remember always--all you did for me." -I did nothing for you." -You loved me and your love made me--human.

Science doesn't purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism... for testing your thoughts against the universe.

The world is being Americanized and technologized to its limits and that makes it dull for some people. Reaching the Moon restores the frontier and gives us the lands beyond.

Science can amuse and fascinate us all but it is engineering that changes the world.

Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?

When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.

To make discoveries you have to be curious about why the universe is the way it is.

Aimless extension of knowledge however which is what I think you really mean by the term curiosity is merely inefficiency. I am designed to avoid inefficiency." -R. Daneel Olivaw

Meanwhile fears of universal disaster sank to an all time low over the world.

All roads lead to Trantor and that is where all stars end.

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

It's humbling to think that all animals including human beings are parasites of the plant world.

Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket.

Human beings sometimes find a kind of pleasure in nursing painful emotions in blaming themselves without reason or even against reason.

Naturally since [the Sumerians] didn't know what caused the flood anymore than we do they blamed the gods. (That's the advantage of religion. You're never short an explanation for anything.)

If a conclusion is not poetically balanced it cannot be scientifically true.

John Dalton's records carefully preserved for a century were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.

Dalton's records carefully preserved for a century were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.

It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.

Boasts are wind and deeds are hard.

One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better.

To insult someone we call him 'bestial. For deliberate cruelty and nature 'human' might be the greater insult.

There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven.

It was obvious that bigotry was never a one-way operation that hatred bred hatred!

Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty.

I don't subscribe to the thesis 'Let the buyer beware ' I prefer the disregarded one that goes 'Let the seller be honest.'

I figure that if God actually does exist he is big enough to understand an honest difference of opinion.

Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.

I even got a letter from a young woman in British Columbia that began as follows: 'Today I am eighteen. I am sitting at the window looking out at the rain and thinking how much I love you.'

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

Humanity has the stars in its future and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.

[O]ur statesmen our businessmen our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.

When I feel difficulty coming on I switch to another book I'm writing. When I get back to the problem my unconscious has solved it.

I have never written a book that didn't teach me far more than it taught my reader.

We're forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable and trying to understand what can't be understood.

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't I would die.

There is a single light of science and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.

The human brain then is the most complicated organization of matter that we know.

To test a perfect theory with imperfect instruments did not impress the Greek philosophers as a valid way to gain knowledge.

There's probably no one so easily bribed but he lacks even the fundamental honesty of honorable corruption. He doesn't stay bribed; not for any sum.

In my life there have been several individuals whose presence made it easier for me to think pleasanter to make my responses.

The great secret of the successful fool is that he's no fool at all

It was childish to feel disappointed but childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child.

I don't believe in extraordinary concatenations of coincidence.

The facts gentlemen and nothing but the facts for careful eyes are narrowly watching.

The intelligent man is never bored.

Fifty years " I hackneyed "is a long time." "Not when you're looking back at them " she said. "You wonder how they vanished so quickly.

I believe that only scientists can understand the universe. It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong.

It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong.

There's so much knowledge to be had that specialists cling to their specialties as a shield against having to know anything about anything else. They avoid being drowned.

The world in general disapproves of creativity and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome.

From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.

I am the beneficiary of a lucky break in the genetic sweepstakes.

Self-education is I firmly believe the only kind of education there is.

Where is the world whose people don't prefer a comfortable warm and well-worn belief however illogical to the chilly winds of uncertainty.

The law of conservation of energy tells us we can't get something for nothing but we refuse to believe it.

Many a prophecy by the mere force of its being believed is transmuted to fact.

All evil is good become cancerous.

Grip the nettle firmly and it will become a stick with which to beat your enemy.

To succeed planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.

Working ten hour days allows you to fall behind twice as fast as you could working five hour days.

If there is a category of human being for whom his work ought to speak for itself it is the writer.

My feeling is quite simply that if there is a God He has done such a bad job that he isn't worth discussing.

The first law of dietetics seems to be: if it tastes good it's bad for you.

The final end of Eternity and the beginning of Infinity

The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying.

When asked for advice by beginners. Know your ending I say or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.

Life is glorious when it is happy; days are carefree when they are happy; the interplay of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew.

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable solutions are not.

What is really amazing and frustrating is mankind's habit of refusing to see the obvious and inevitable until it is there and then muttering about unforeseen catastrophes.

The first step in making rabbit stew is catching the rabbit.

If all human beings understood history they might cease making the same stupid mistakes over and over.

Once you get it into your head that somebody is controlling events you can interpret everything in that light and find no reasonable certainty anywhere.

Things do change. The only question is that since things are deteriorating so quickly will society and man's habits change quickly enough?

It is change continuing change inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today.

Why this reluctance to make the change? We fear the process of reeducation.

It is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works.

The significant chemicals of living tissue are rickety and unstable which is exactly what is needed for life.

This game the Persian Magi did invent The force of Eastern wisdom to express: From thence to busy Europeans sent And styled by modern Lombards pensive chess.

Fertility is hereditary. If your parents didn't have any children neither will you. I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.

Any system which allows men to choose their own future will end by choosing safety and mediocrity and in such a Reality the stars are out of reach.

All sorts of computer errors are now turning up. You'd be surprised to know the number of doctors who claim they are treating pregnant men.

At odd and unpredictable times we cling in fright to the past .

That's the harm of Close Encounters: that it convinces tens of millions that that's what just science fiction is.

All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else.

The closer to the truth the better the lie and the truth itself when it can be used is the best lie.

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence.

Having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself.

Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014 but they will be in existence.

Democracy cannot survive overpopulation.

Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer should be replaced by a computer.

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.

We are reaching the stage where the problems we must solve are going to become insoluble without computers. I do not fear computers I fear the lack of them.

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well maybe once..

It is well-known that the friend of a conqueror is but the last victim.

It is in meeting the great tests that mankind can most successfully rise to great heights. Out of danger and restless insecurity comes the force that pushes mankind to newer and loftier conquests.

The greatest weapons in the conquest of knowledge are an understanding mind and the inexorable curiosity that drives it on.

All normal life Peter consciously or otherwise resent domination. If the domination is by an inferior or by a supposed inferior the resentment becomes stronger.

When stupidity is considered patriotism it is unsafe to be intelligent.

I never considered myself a patriot. I like to think I recognize only humanity as my nation.

Considering what human beings do and have done to human beings (and to other living things as well) ... I can never imagine what the devil people think computers can add to the horrors.

Modern science fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us.

I can't bear to hear a human being spoken of with contempt just because of his group identification...It's these respectable people here who create those hooligans out there.

It seems to me that God is a convenient invention of the human mind

Intuition is the art peculiar to the human mind of working out the correct answer from data that is in itself incomplete or even perhaps misleading.

Scientists expect to be improved on and corrected; they hope to be

There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind where none may reach and none may save.

Courtiers don't take wagers against the king's skill. There is the deadly danger of winning.

It was easy to cover up ignorance by the mystical word "intuition.

Suppose we were to teach creationism. What would be the content of the teaching? Merely that a creator formed the universe and all species of life ready-made? Nothing more? No details?

No one suggests that writing about science will turn the entire world into a model of judgment and creative thought. It will be enough if they spread the knowledge as widely as possible.

The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind for they alone will do more than serve a machine.

There are no happy endings in history only crisis points that pass.

Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo.

Never judge your own writing. You're not fit to do so.

Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere doing something else being someone else.

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.

Now any dogma based primarily on faith and emotionalism is a dangerous weapon to use on others since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user.

Happiness is doing it rotten your own way.

We all know we fall. Newton's discovery was that the moon falls too-and by the same rule that we do.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science the one that heralds new discoveries is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'

People who don't expect justice don't have to suffer disappointment.

In the presence of total Darkness the mind finds it absolutely necessary to create light.

A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is--or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it however distorted that might be.

All humanity could share a common insanity and be immersed in a common illusion while living in a common chaos. That can't be disproved but we have no choice but to follow our senses.

Radiation unlike smoking drinking and overeating gives no pleasure so the possible victims object.

Mathematicians deal with large numbers sometimes but never in their income.

Dreams may be impossible yet still be dreamed.

The downtrodden are more religious than the satisfied.

The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.

Scientists derive satisfaction from figuring out the puzzle. It's about the quest not the grail.

The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

Finished products are for decadent minds.

... you just can't differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans.

There is no one so insufferable as a person who gives no other excuse for a peculiar action than saying he had been directed to it in a dream.

Inertia! Our ruling class knows one law; no change. Despotism! They know one rule; force. Maldistribution! They know one desire; to hold what is theirs.

There is no more desire to live past one's time than to die before it.

I am afraid a monster is grown that will devour all of us. Yet we must fight him.

The dangers that face the world can every one of them be traced back to science. The salvations that may save the world will every one of them be traced back to science.

Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny...

The temptation was great to muster what force we could and put up a fight. It's the easiest way out and the most satisfactory to self-respect--but nearly invariably the stupidest.

Society is much more easily soothed than one's own conscience.

Education isn't something you can finish

Self-education is I firmly believe the only kind of education there is. The only function of a school is to make self-education easier; failing that it does nothing.

Economics is on the side of humanity now.

God how that stings! I've spent a lifetime loving science fiction and now I find that you must expect nothing of something that's just science fiction.

A fire-eater must eat fire even if he has to kindle it himself.

Life originated in the sea and about eighty percent of it is still there.

No vision of God and heaven ever experienced by the most exalted prophet can in my opinion match the vision of the universe as seen by Newton or Einstein

You don't have to be able to lay eggs to know when one of them is rotten.

Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases.

The human mind works at low efficiency. Twenty percent is the figure usually given. When momentarily there is a flash of greater power it is termed a hunch or insight or intuition.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned isolation is required. Creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have there are a hundred ten thousand foolish ones.

Computerization eliminates the middleman

A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.

It pays to be obvious especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.

They don't want equal time - they want all the time there is.

Words are a pretty fuzzy substitute for mathematical equations.

Do not forget that a traitor within our ranks known to us can do more harm to the enemy than a loyal man can do good to us.

Any planet is 'Earth' to those that live on it.

I wanted to be a psychological engineer but we lacked the facilities so I did the next best thing - I went into politics. It's practically the same thing.

A scientist is as weak and human as any man but the pursuit of science may ennoble him even against his will.

The age of the pulp magazine was the last in which youngsters to get their primitive material were forced to be literate.

I received the fundamentals of my education in school but that was not enough. My real education the superstructure the details the true architecture I got out of the public library.

If I am right then (religious fundamentalists) will not go to Heaven because there is no Heaven. If they are right then they will not go to Heaven because they are hypocrites.

The false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Politically popular speech has always been protected: even the Jews were free to say "?Heil Hitler.'

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.

It is almost impossible to think of something no one has thought of before but it is always possible to add different frills.

Past glories are poor feeding.

Love life seems to be that factor which requires the largest quantity of magical tinkering.

What would I do if I knew I only had six months to live? Type faster.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's science fact.

It is precisely because it is fashionable for Americans to know no science even though they may be well educated otherwise that they so easily fall prey to nonsense.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. [The Second Law of Robotics]

All the hundreds of millions of people who in their time believed the Earth was flat never succeeded in unrounding it by an inch.

During the century after Newton it was still possible for a man of unusual attainments to master all fields of scientific knowledge. But by 1800 this had become entirely impracticable.

People think of education as something they can finish.

Writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers.

The Master created humans first as the lowest type most easily formed. Gradually he replaced them by robots the next higher step and finally he created me to take the place of the last humans.

It is remarkable Hardin how the religion of science has grabbed hold.

When I die I won't go to heaven or hell; there will just be nothingness.

There was this superstitious fear on the part of the pygmies of the present for the relics of the giants of the past.

There seems to be a feeling that anything that is natural is good. Strychnine is natural.

And above all things never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature and it remains premature today.

Naturally there's got to be a limit for I don't expect to live forever but I do intend to hang on as long as possible.

The spell of power never quite releases its hold.

It's your fiction that interests me. Your studies of the interplay of human motives and emotion.

A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.

It has always been my ambition to die in harness with my head face down on a keyboard and my nose caught between two of the keys.

Night will always be a time of fear and insecurity and the heart will sink with the sun.

Writing is my only interest. Even speaking is an interruption.

It is always useful you see to subject the past life of reform politicians to rather inquisitive research.

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that once it is competently programmed and working smoothly it is completely honest.

It's the writing that teaches you.

Rejection slips or form letters however tactfully phrased are lacerations of the soul if not quite inventions of the devil-but there is no way around them.

The greatest inventors are unknown to us. Someone invented the wheel - but who?

I don't believe in personal immortality; the only way I expect to have some version of such a thing is through my books.

There is no merit to discipline under ideal circumstances. I must have it in the face of death or it is worthless.

Theories are not so much wrong as incomplete

Even as a youngster though I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger the solution was ignorance.

It is not only the living who are killed in war.

If knowledge can create problems it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

Uncertainty that comes from knowledge (knowing what you don't know) is different from uncertainty coming from ignorance.

The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders.

You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason---if you pick the proper postulates.

It is the invariable lesson to humanity that distance in time and in space as well lends focus. It is not recorded incidentally that the lesson has ever been permanently learned.

There is no Master but the Master " he said "and QT-1 is his prophet.

Of course there are worlds. Millions of them! Every star you see has worlds and most of those you don't see.

If you have talent you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.

Science is a mechanism a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It's a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match.

Author's Notes: This story starts with section 6. This is not a mistake. I have my own subtle reasoning. So just read and enjoy.

Nothing has to be true but everything has to sound true.

There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon there will be no nations because there will be no humanity.

Oh for a pin that would puncture pretension!

If we only obey those rules that we think are just and reasonable then no rule will stand for there is no rule that some will not think is unjust and unreasonable.

Every religion seems like a fantasy to outsiders but as holy truth to those of the faith.

In life people will take you at your own reckoning.

Old people think young people haven't learned about love. Young people think old people have forgotten about love.

Since emotions are few and reasons are many (said the robot Giscard) the behavior of a crowd can be more easily predicted than the behavior of one person.

You wait for the war to happen like vultures. If you want to help prevent the war. Don't save the remnants. Save them all.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.

I'm not a speed reader. I'm a speed understander.

To any who know the star field well from one certain reference point stars are as individual as people. Jump ten parsecs however and not even your own sun is recognizable.

I don't think I've ever held a racket in my hand ... There's got to be somebody in the US who isn't trying to play tennis and stinking up the court.

So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe.

Science is a set of rules to keep us from telling lies to each other. All scientists really have is a reputation for telling the truth.

Why ... did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions -- not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?

While he lives he must think; while he thinks he must dream.

Unfortunately in many cases people who write science fiction violate the laws of nature not because they want to make a point but because they don't know what the laws of nature are.