We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

QUOTE: There are many attributed quotes by Albert Einstein. When you consider his prolific output of commentary, particularly on humanity’s future in the atomic age, it is not surprising that there will be some variations and contemporary reinterpretations. One important quote, in particular, keeps appearing in so many different forms it has become hard to isolate its source. It’s five main variations often read something like:

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

“The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.”

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

“The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” [1]

The source of that recent message is quoted in an article that appeared the month before titled ‘Atomic Education Urged by Einstein’ where the mircofiche archive copy of the article reports on an appeal by telegram to ‘several hundred prominent Americans’ on 24 May 1946 in a ‘Plea for $200,000 to promote new type of essential thinking’. The telegram was signed by the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists with Albert Einstein as Chairman and the Federation of American Scientists. The text of that telegram is quoted in part and reads:

‘Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing power to make great decisions for good or evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. We scientists who released this immense power have an overwhelming responsibility in this world life-and-death struggle to harness the atom for the benefit of mankind and not for humanity’s destruction. We need two hundred thousand dollars at once for a nation-wide campaign to let people know that a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels. This appeal is sent to you only after long consideration of the immense crisis we face. … We ask your help at this fateful moment as a sign that we scientists do not stand alone.’ (Source: New York Times – May 25 1946, p.13 – ‘Atomic Education Urged by Einstein’) [2]

NOTES: This famous quote by Einstein wasn’t actually said by Einstein. It’s an interesting story.

The reality, however, is that the quote is still true. Current thinking got us into a situation which has led to a variety of problems. More of the same sort of thinking cannot solve these problems.

QUESTIONS for thinking it through:
What does this say?
What does this say that I need to obey?
Who needs to hear this?




[1] Einstein Enigmatic Quote, 6/24/2009, at Icarusfalling,  http://icarus-falling.blogspot.com/2009/06/einstein-enigma.html

[2] Ibid.

The image is from Wikipedia.

Any Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


This entry was posted in An Overview. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.