Einstein, the Universe and Stupidity, Quote from the Quote Investigator.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about th’universe!

Did Einstein really say that?

Quote Investigator: Probably not, but there is some evidence, and QI can tell you why the quote is attributed to Einstein. The story begins in the 1940s when the influential Gestalt therapist Frederick S. Perls wrote a book titled “Ego, Hunger, and Aggression: a Revision of Freud’s Theory and Method.”

This book contains the earliest version of the quotation that QI has located. It occurs in a chapter called “Hunger Instinct” [EIN1]:

Furthermore, this impatient, greedy attitude is responsible more than anything else for the excessive stupidity we find in the world. Just as such people have no patience to chew up real food, so they do not take sufficient time to “chew up” mental food.

As modern times promote hasty eating to a large extent, it is not surprising to learn that a great astronomer said: “Two things are infinite, as far as we know – the universe and human stupidity.” To-day we know that this statement is not quite correct. Einstein has proved that the universe is limited.

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