Alan Lightman Quotes

Image, Children grow rapidly, forget the centuries-long embrace from their parents, which to

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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

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Image, Science is an intellectual journey, and to me, it’s not the destination,

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Science is an intellectual journey, and to me, it's not the destination, it's the journeyto get there. It's a way of thinking and it's an intellectual curiosity, a desire to know how the world works, and to know what the fundamental principles of the world are, and to know our place in it. I think once we stop asking questions like "what is the age of the universe," or "how are the instructions of DNA carried out on a microscopic level," once we stop asking questions like that, we're dead.

Alan Lightman

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Image, In our constant search for meaning in this baffling and temporary existence,

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In our constant search for meaning in this baffling and temporary existence, trapped as we are within our three pounds of neurons, it is sometimes hard to tell what is real. We often invent what isn't there. Or ignore what is. We try to impose order, both in our minds and in our conceptions of external reality. We try to connect. We try to find truth. We dream and we hope. And underneath all of these strivings, we are haunted by the suspicion that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the whole.

Alan Lightman

Image, And at the place where time stands still, one sees lovers kissing

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And at the place where time stands still, one sees lovers kissing in the shadows of buildings, in a frozen embrace that will never let go. The loved one will never take his arms from where they are now, will never give back the bracelet of memories, will never journey afar from his lover, will never place himself in danger of self-sacrifice, will never fail to show his love, will never become jealous, will never fall in love with someone else, will never lose the passion of this instant of time.

Alan Lightman

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Image, One cannot walk down an avenue, converse with a friend, enter a

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One cannot walk down an avenue, converse with a friend, enter a building, browse beneath the sandstone arches of an old arcade without meeting an instrument of time. Time is visible in all places. Clock towers, wristwatches, church bells divide years into months, months into days, days into hours, hours into seconds, each increment of time marching after the other in perfect succession. And beyond any particular clock, a vast scaffold of time, stretching across the universe, lays down the law of time equally for all.

Alan Lightman

Image, Unconditional love. That’s what he wants to give her and what

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Unconditional love. That’s what he wants to give her and what he wants from her. People should give without wanting anything in return. All other giving is selfish. But he is being selfish a little, isn’t he, by wanting her to love him in return? He hopes that she loves him in return. 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 of rain?

Alan Lightman

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Image, I have no opposition at all to technology. I think technology is

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I have no opposition at all to technology. I think technology is a wonderful thing that has to be used thoughtfully, and we can't just assume that every bit of new technology improvesthe quality of life; it's really in how the technology is used. What I am very disturbed about is this trend of everything happening faster and faster and faster and there being more and more general noise in the world, and less and less time for quiet reflection on who we are, and where we're going.

Alan Lightman

Image, In this world, time has three dimensions, like space. Just as an

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In this world, time has three dimensions, like space. Just as an object may move in three perpendicular directions, corresponding to horizontal, vertical, and longitudinal, so an object may participate in three perpendicular futures. Each future moves in a different direction of time. Each future is real. At every point of decision, the world splits into three worlds, each with the same people, but different fates for those people. In time, there are an infinity of worlds.

Alan Lightman

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Image, For me, spirituality includes the belief in things larger than ourselves, an

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For me, spirituality includes the belief in things larger than ourselves, an appreciation of nature and beauty, a sensitivity to the world, a feeling of shared connection with other living things, a desire to help people less fortunate than ourselves. All of these things can occur with or without God. I do not believe in the existence of God, but I consider myself a spiritual person in the manner I have just described. I call myself a spiritual atheist. I would imagine that many people are spiritual atheists.

Alan Lightman

Image, When the first mechanical clocks were invented, marking off time in crisp,

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When the first mechanical clocks were invented, marking off time in crisp, regular intervals, it must have surprised people to discover that time flowed outside their own mental and physiological processes. Body time flows at its own variable rate, oblivious to the most precise hydrogen master clocks in the laboratory. In fact, the human body contains its own exquisite time-pieces, all with their separate rhythms. There are the alpha waves in the brain; another clock is the heart. And all the while tick the mysterious, ruthless clocks that regulate aging.

Alan Lightman

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Image, I think that the scienti?c way of looking at the world,

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I think that the scienti?c way of looking at the world, and the humanistic way of looking at the world are complementary. There are important differences which should be preserved, and in trying to do away with those differences we would lose something the same way as if we tried to make all religions one religion or all races one race. There is a cultural diversity that's very valuable, and it's valuable to have different ways of looking at the world.

Alan Lightman

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

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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. In the coffee houses, in the government buildings, in boats of Lake Geneva, people look at their watches and take refuge in time. Each person knows that somewhere is recorded the moment she was born, the moment she took her first step, the moment of her first passion, the moment she said goodbye to her parents.

Alan Lightman

Image, The relationship between science and the humanities is two-way. Science changes our

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The relationship between science and the humanities is two-way. Science changes our view of the world and our place in it. In the other direction, the humanities provide the store of ideas and images and language available to us in understanding the world. The exploding star of A.D. 1054, the Crab Nebula, was sighted and documented by the Chinese, but nowhere mentioned in the West, where the Aristotelian notion of the immortality of stars still held sway. We often do not see what we do not expect to see.

Alan Lightman