I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists - proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision.
One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But... I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.
There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.
Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favor compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life.
I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul. No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life - our desire to go on living - our dread of coming to an end.
To those searching for truth -- not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction -- faith in fiction is a damnable false hope.
I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles.
I am more of a sponge than an inventor. I absorb ideas from every source. I take half-matured schemes for mechanical development and make them practical. I am a sort of a middleman between the long-haired and impractical inventor and the hard-headed business man who measures all things in terms of dollars and cents. My principal business is giving commercial value to the brilliant but misdirected ideas of others.
We tried some experiments in mind reading which were not very successful. Think mind reading contrary to common sense, wise provision of the Bon Dieu that we cannot read each others minds, twould stop civilization and everybody would take to the woods. In fifty or hundred thousand centuries when mankind have become perfect by evolution then perhaps this sense could be developed with safety to the state.
Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp.
Nobody knows whether our personalities pass on to another existence or sphere, but if we can evolve an instrument so delicate to be manipulated by our personality as it survives in the next life such an instrument ought to record something...
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. It is astonishing how many have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work....
In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again.
I told [Kruesi] I was going to record talking, and then have the machine talk back. He thought it absurd. However, it was finished, the foil was put on; I then shouted "Mary had a little lamb," etc. I adjusted the reproducer, and the machine reproduced it perfectly. On first words spoken on a phonograph.
I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No when I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.
Most of the exercise I get is from standing and walking around laboratory tables all day. I derive more benefit and entertainment from this than some of my friends and competitors get from playing games like golf.
It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.
Mr. Edison worked endlessly on a problem, using the method of elimination. If a person asked him if he were discouraged because so many attempts proved unavailing, he would say, "No, I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.".
I never pick up an item without thinking of how I might improve it. I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it. I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill. The dove is my emblem.
A reporter called on Edison to interview him about a substitute for lead in the manufacture of storage batteries that the scientist was seeking. Edison informed the man that he had made 20,000 experiments but none had worked. "Aren't you discouraged by all this waste of effort?" the reporter asked. Edison: "Waste! There's nothing wasted. I have discovered 20,000 things that won't work."
I have always consistently opposed high-tension and alternating systems of electric lighting...not only on account of danger, but because of their general unreliability and unsuitability for any general system of distribution.
Problems in human engineering will receive during the coming years the same genius and attention which the nineteenth century gave to the more material forms of engineering. We have laid good foundations for industrial prosperity, now we want to assure the happiness and growth of the workers through vocational education, vocational guidance, and wisely managed employment departments. A great field for industrial experimentation and statemanship is opening up.
Genius? Nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! Any other bright-minded fellow can accomplish just as much if he will stick like hell and remember nothing that's any good works by itself. You've got to make the damn thing work!...I failed my way to success.