„The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.“

Introduction to Blast Off : Rockets, Robots, Ray Guns, and Rarities from the Golden Age of Space Toys (2001) by S. Mark Young, Steve Duin, Mike Richardson, p. 6; the quote on hydrogen and stupidity is said to have originated with an essay of his in the 1960s, and is often misattributed to Frank Zappa, who made similar remarks in The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989): "Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe."
Kontext: NO ONE GETS OUT OF CHILDHOOD ALIVE. It's not the first time I've said that. But among the few worthy bon mots I've gotten off in sixty-seven years, that and possibly one other may be the only considerations eligible for carving on my tombstone. (The other one is the one entrepreneurs have misappropriated to emboss on buttons and bumper stickers: The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
(I don't so much mind that they pirated it, but what does honk me off is that they never get it right. They render it dull and imbecile by phrasing it thus: "The two most common things in the universe are..."
(Not things, you insensate gobbets of ambulatory giraffe dung, elements! Elements is funny, things is imprecise and semi-guttural. Things! Geezus, when will the goyim learn they don't know how to tell a joke.

Übernommen aus Wikiquote. Letzte Aktualisierung 3. Juni 2021. Geschichte
Harlan Ellison Foto
Harlan Ellison
US-amerikanischer Schriftsteller, Drehbuchautor und Kritiker 1934 - 2018

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Arthur Miller Foto
Frank Zappa Foto

„There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.“

—  Frank Zappa American musician, songwriter, composer, and record and film producer 1940 - 1993

Frank Zappa Foto

„Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.“

—  Frank Zappa American musician, songwriter, composer, and record and film producer 1940 - 1993

Quelle: The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989), p. 239; this may be derived from a similar observation by Harlan Ellison which is sometimes misattributed to Zappa: "The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity."

Albert Einstein Foto

„Two things are infinite: the universe and the human stupidity.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

As discussed in this entry from The Quote Investigator http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/04/universe-einstein/#more-173, the earliest published attribution of a similar quote to Einstein seems to have been in Gestalt therapist Frederick S. Perls' 1969 book Gestalt Theory Verbatim, where he wrote on p. 33: "As Albert Einstein once said to me: 'Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.' But what is much more widespread than the actual stupidity is the playing stupid, turning off your ear, not listening, not seeing." Perls also offered another variant in his 1972 book In and Out the Garbage Pail, where he mentioned a meeting with Einstein and on p. 52 http://books.google.com/books?id=HuxFAAAAYAAJ&q=human+stupidity#search_anchor quoted him saying: "Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe." However, Perls had given yet another variant of this quote in an earlier book, Ego, Hunger, and Aggression: a Revision of Freud’s Theory and Method (originally published 1942, although the Quote Investigator only checked that the quote appeared in the 1947 edition), where he attributed it not to Einstein but to a "great astronomer", writing: "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." So, the later attributions in 1969 and 1972 may have been a case of faulty memory, or of intentionally trying to increase the authority of the quote by attributing it to Einstein. The quote itself may be a variant of a similar quote attributed even earlier to the philosopher Ernest Renan, found for example in The Public: Volume 18 from 1915, which says on p. 1126 http://books.google.com/books?id=cTPmAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA1126#v=onepage&q&f=false: "He quotes the saying of Renan: it isn't the stars that give him an idea of infinity; it is man's stupidity." (Other examples of similar attributions to Renan can be found on this Google Books search http://www.google.com/search?q=renan+infinity+stupidity&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1.) Renan was French so this is presumably intended as a translation, but different sources give different versions of the supposed original French quote, such as "La bêtise humaine est la seule chose qui donne une idée de l'infini" (found for example in Réflexions sur la vie, 1895-1898 by Remy de Gourmont from 1903, p. 103 http://books.google.com/books?id=RtrtAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA103#v=onepage&q&f=false, along with several other early sources as seen in this search http://www.google.com/search?q=%22humaine+est+la+seule+chose+qui%22+renan&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1) and "Ce n'est pas l'immensité de la voûte étoilée qui peut donner le plus complétement l'idée de l'infini, mais bien la bêtise humaine!" (found in Broad views, Volume 2 from 1904, p. 465 http://books.google.com/books?id=9NEaAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA465#v=onepage&q&f=false). Since these variants have not been found in Renan's own writings, they may represent false attributions as well. They may also be variants of an even older saying; for example, the 1880 book Des vers by Guy de Maupassant includes on p. 9 http://books.google.com/books?id=cQUvAAAAMAAJ&pg=PP21#v=onepage&q&f=false a quote from a letter (dated February 19, 1880) by Gustave Flaubert where Flaubert writes "Cependant, qui sait? La terre a des limites, mais la bêtise humaine est infinie!" which translates to "But who knows? The earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is infinite!" Similarly the 1887 book Melanges by Jules-Paul Tardivel includes on p. 273 http://books.google.com/books?id=n9cOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA273#v=onepage&q&f=false a piece said to have been written in 1880 in which he writes "Aujourd'hui je sais qu'il n'y a pas de limites à la bêtise humaine, qu'elle est infinie" which translates to "today I know that there is no limit to human stupidity, it is infinite."
Disputed
Variante: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Earliest version located is in Technocracy digest: Issues 287–314 from 1988, p. 76 http://books.google.com/books?id=L7LnAAAAMAAJ&q=%22sure+about+the+former%22#search_anchor. Translated to German as: "Zwei Dinge sind unendlich: das Universum und die menschliche Dummheit. Aber beim Universum bin ich mir nicht ganz sicher." (Earliest version located is Arndt-Michael Meyer, Die Macht der Kürze, Books on Demand GmbH, 2004, p. 14 http://books.google.gr/books?id=12DW-RBKTW8C&pg=PA14&dq=%22Zwei+Dinge+sind+unendlich:+das+Universum+und+die+menschliche+%22+arnd&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gquJUsrYBomM7AapmYGgCQ&ved=0CC8Q6wEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Zwei%20Dinge%20sind%20unendlich%3A%20das%20Universum%20und%20die%20menschliche%20%22%20arnd&f=false.)
Variante: Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Peter Atkins Foto
Stephen King Foto
Samuel P. Huntington Foto

„Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities.“

—  Samuel P. Huntington American political scientist 1927 - 2008

Quelle: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996), Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The Commonalities Of Civilization, p. 319
Kontext: Does the vacuousness of Western universalism and the reality of global cultural diversity lead inevitably and irrevocably to moral and cultural relativism? If universalism legitimates imperialism, does relativism legitimate repression? Once again, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.” Minimal moral concepts of truth and justice are found in all thick moralities and cannot be divorced from them. There are also minimal moral “negative injunctions, most likely, rules against murder, deceit, torture, oppression, and tyranny.” What people have in common is “more the sense of a common enemy [or evil] than the commitment to a common culture.” Human society is “universal because it is human, particular because it is a society.” At times we march with others; mostly we march alone. Yet a “thin” minimal morality does derive from the common human condition, and “universal dispositions” are found in all cultures. Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities.

Michel De Montaigne Foto

„There were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or two grains. Their most universal quality is diversity.“

—  Michel De Montaigne, buch Essays

Book II, Ch. 37
Essais (1595), Book II
Variante: There were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or two grains. Their most universal quality is diversity.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues Foto
A.E. Housman Foto

„Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain.“

—  A.E. Housman English classical scholar and poet 1859 - 1936

"The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism", a lecture delivered on August 4, 1921

G. K. Chesterton Foto

„The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense.“

—  G. K. Chesterton, buch The Defendant

"A Defence of Baby-Worship"
The Defendant (1901)
Kontext: The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common-sense. The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.

„The invalid assumption that correlation implies cause is probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning.“

—  Stephen Jay Gould American evolutionary biologist 1941 - 2002

Quelle: The Mismeasure of Man (1996), p. 272

Frederic G. Kenyon Foto

„The publication of the Revised New Testament by the two University Presses on May 17, 1881, was the most sensational in the annals of publishing.“

—  Frederic G. Kenyon British palaeographer and biblical and classical scholar 1863 - 1952

Quelle: The Story Of The Bible, Chapter VIII, The Age Of Discoveries, p. 87

„There are only two races on this planet — the intelligent and the stupid.“

—  John Fowles British writer 1926 - 2005

As quoted in Daily Telegraph (15 August 1991)

Cory Doctorow Foto
Mark Oliphant Foto

„We were able to discover two new kinds of atomic species, one was hydrogen of mass 3, unknown until that time, and the other helium of mass 3, also unknown.“

—  Mark Oliphant Governor of South Australia (1971-76) 1901 - 2000

On his research on atomic nuclei with Ernest Rutherford, p. 24
Portraits in Science interviews (1994)
Kontext: We were able to discover two new kinds of atomic species, one was hydrogen of mass 3, unknown until that time, and the other helium of mass 3, also unknown. … We were able to show that heavy hydrogen nuclei, that is to say the cores of heavy hydrogen atoms, could be made to react with one another to produce a good deal of energy and new kinds of atom. …Of course, we had no idea whatever that this would one day be applied to make hydrogen bombs. Our curiosity was just curiosity about the structure of the nucleus of the atom, and the discovery of these reactions was purely, as the Americans would put it, coincidental.

J. Howard Moore Foto
Robert A. Heinlein Foto

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