Alexander von Humboldt Quotes

Who is Alexander von Humboldt?

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian polymath explorer and geographer known as the father of climate change.

Born September 14, 1769
Died May 06, 1859

Books by Alexander von Humboldt


Best 31 Quotes by Alexander von Humboldt | Page 1 of 2

“At no other time has Nature concentrated such a wealth of valuable nourishment into such a small space as in the cocoa bean.”

“Before being free, it is necessary to be just.”

“Braver than exploring the unknown may be to doubt the known.”

“Collaboration operates through a process in which the successful intellectual achievements of one person arouse the intellectual passions and enthusiasms of others.”

“Cruelty to animals is one of the most significant vices of a low and ignoble people. Wherever one notices them, they constitute a sign of ignorance and brutality which cannot be painted over even by all the evidence of wealth and luxury.”

“How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”

“However great an evil immorality may be, we must not forget that it is not without its beneficial consequences. It is only through extremes that men can arrive at the middle path of wisdom and virtue.”

“I regard marriage as a sin and propagation of children as a crime. It is my conviction also that he is a fool, and still more a sinner, who takes upon himself the yoke of marriage - a fool, because he thereby throws away his freedom, without gaining a corresponding recompense; a sinner, because he gives life to children, without being able to give them the certainty of happiness. I despise humanity in all its strata; I foresee that our posterity will be far more unhappy than we are; and should not I be a sinner, if, in spite of this insight, I should take care to leave a posterity of unhappy beings behind me? The whole of life is the greatest insanity. And if for eighty years one strives and inquiries, still one is obliged finally to confess that he has striven for nothing and has found nothing. Did we at least know why we are in this world! But to the thinker, everything is and remains a riddle; and the greatest good luck is that of being born a flathead.”

“I saw with regret, (and all scientific men have shared this feeling) that whilst the number of accurate instruments was daily increasing, we were still ignorant.”

“If we glance at the most important revolutions in history, we see at once that the greatest number of these originated in the periodical revolutions on the human mind.”

“Insight into universal nature provides an intellectual delight and sense of freedom that no blows of fate and no evil can destroy.”

“is a proverbial expression that every man is the maker of his own fortune, and we usually regard it as implying that every man by his folly or wisdom prepares good or evil for himself. But we may view it in another light, namely, that we may so accommodate ourselves to the dispositions of Providence as to be happy in our lot, whatever may be its privations.”

“It is usually more important how a man meets his fate than what it is.”

“Language makes infinite use of finite media.”

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“Mere communion with nature, mere contact with the free air, exercise a soothing yet comforting and strengthening influence on the wearied mind, calm the storm of passion, and soften the heart when shaken by sorrow to its inmost depths.”

“Nature can be so soothing to the tormented mind.”

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“A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.”

The Second Sin


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“Only what we have wrought into our character during life can we take with us.”

“Our imagination is struck only by what is great; but the lover of natural philosophy should reflect equally on little things.”

“People often say that I'm curious about too many things at once... But can you really forbid a man from harbouring a desire to know and embrace everything that surrounds him?”

“The Germans require two hundred years for every stupidity: a hundred to commit it, and a hundred to admit it.”

“The government is best which makes itself unnecessary.”

“The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.”

“There are some races more cultured and advanced and ennobled by education than others; but there are no races nobler than others. All are equally destined for freedom.”

“There are three stages of scientific discovery: first people deny it is true; then they deny it is important; finally they credit the wrong person.”

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”

“War seems to be one of the most salutary phenomena for the culture of human nature; and it is not without regret that I see it disappearing more and more from the scene.”

“What speaks to the soul, escapes our measurements.”

“Wherever the citizen becomes indifferent to his fellows, so will the husband be to his wife, and the father of a family toward the members of his household.”

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“I am more and more convinced that our happiness depends more on how we meet the events in our lives, than on those events themselves.”

Jaguars and Electric Eels Quotes

“This view of a living nature where man is nothing is both odd and sad. Here, in a fertile land, in an eternal greenness, you search in vain for traces of man; you feel you are carried into a different world from the one you were born into.”

Jaguars and Electric Eels

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“Your task is not to judge or punish. Karma will take care of that. Your task is to love.”


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