Alan Lightman Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Alan Lightman Quotes

#1. That's the fine balance of a fiction writer ... to be able to give your characters enough freedom to surprise you and yet still maintain some kind of artistic control. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#2. He feels himself falling. He wants to spend every minute with her, he wants to possess her, her purity, her body, her mind. She is what he has been waiting for. Now he can live. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#3. Except for a God who sits down after the universe begins, all other gods conflict with the assumptions of science. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#4. I love the fact publishers are still publishing unprofitable material. It's a challenge to the powers that be. It's saying there is a real literature in this country and we will keep publishing it. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#5. It's not necessarily a large number of people that affect the culture. You don't count the number of influential voices, you weigh them. A hundred people can affect the culture. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#6. We often do not see what we do not expect to see. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#7. Each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#8. -But rational thoughts lead only to rational thoughts, whereas irrational thoughts lead to new experiences. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#9. It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#10. If the past has uncertain effect on the present, there is no need to dwell on the past. And if the present has little effect on the future, - Author: Alan Lightman
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#11. I have too many friends who tell me that they spend the first hour of every morning going through their e-mail messages. I'd like to use my time more carefully. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#12. I consider myself an essayist and a fiction writer. In the essays, I certainly have been influenced by some of the leading science essayists. Like Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, Lewis Thomas. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#13. Thus, to explain what we see in the world and in our mental deductions, we must believe in what we cannot prove. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#14. Writers read essays and serious thinkers and serious readers ... that is a small population. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#15. Yet the time-deaf are unable to speak what they know. For speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#16. The pilgrims chant with every minute subtracted from their lives. This is their sacrifice. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#17. Unfortunately, public debates do not have much room for subtlety. The audience wants a quick thrust at your opponent, not a slow and convoluted series of moves. Whenever Obama uses subtleties in discussing a complex issue, he gets creamed. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#18. Each time is true, but the truths are not the same. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#19. I should have written books instead of reading them. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#20. The world is moving faster and faster, but where are we going?I think one of the reasons why things are getting blurry is because there is not much meaning. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#21. In fiction writing ideas have to be handled extremely carefully. You can't let your characters just be mouthpieces for your ideas. They have to live and breathe on their own. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#22. What sense is there in continuing when one has seen the future? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#23. For it is only habit and memory that dulls the physical passion. Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#24. I wouldn't overall say that The Diagnosis it's a funny book. I would say that it has comic moments. It's a modern tragedy. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#25. Sadness is no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#26. The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#27. Every essay - the subject matter of every essay - is ultimately about the essayist; him or herself. That ultimately, every essayist is writing about his or her view of the world. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#28. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#29. I oppose any belief that contradicts experimental evidence as determined by the methods of science. All beliefs not in such contradiction may be considered as faith. Whether faith in a particular belief is beneficial or not is another matter. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#30. Imagine a world in which there is no time. Only images. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#31. Time is a rigid, bonelike structure, extending infinitely ahead and behind, fossilizing the future as well as the past. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#32. As human beings, don't we need questions without answers as well as questions with answers, questions that we might someday answer and questions that we can never answer? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#33. Everyone shares the same fate. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#34. The urge to discover, to invent, to know the unknown, seems so deeply human that we cannot imagine our history without it. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#35. I re-read a lot of books that I like a lot. There are some books that I try to reread every couple of years. A good book changes for you every few years because you are in a different place in your own life. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#36. Music is, of course, a universal emotional experience, cutting across cultures and languages. I studied piano for ten years as a child and consider that experience one of the most valuable in my life. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#37. I am spellbound by the plays of Shakespeare. And I am spellbound by the second law of thermodynamics. The great ideas in science, like the Cro-Magnon paintings and the plays of Shakespeare, are part of our cultural heritage. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#38. I still will sit down at the piano and play when I am wrestling with something emotionally or just want to move into the musical world. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#39. I think Joe Leiberman has been one of the leaders of the country ... people have such a broad respect for him as a moral force. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#40. If I were not a writer, I would spend more time doing the things that I am already doing, which include doing research in physics, teaching, and running a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women in Cambodia. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#41. The history of science can be viewed as the recasting of phenomena that were once thought to be accidents as phenomena that can be understood in terms of fundamental causes and principles. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#42. Franz Kafka is an idea person. His books begin and end in ideas. Ideas have always been important to me in my writing. To the point that I have to be careful that they don't take over. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#43. It never occurred to me that she might travel from one man to the next to avoid being abandoned. Or to avoid being worshiped like a goddess, a worship she both relished and despised. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#44. I think it is always a long shot getting a book made into a film. Making that book into a film is going to be quite a challenge. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#45. Who would fare better in this world of fitful time? Those who have seen the future and live only one life? Or those who have not seen the future and wait to live life? Or those who deny the future and live two lives? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#46. He had a problem, like any other problem. The problem just hadn't been well posed. The problem was: Should he leave Penny or not? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#47. The target of power is more interesting than its quantity. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#48. As I understand it, a universe is a ... well, a totality. A universe is everything that is, as far as the inside of the thing. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#49. Some say it is best not to go near the center of time. Life is a vessel of sadness, but is noble to live life and without time there is no life. Others disagree. They would rather have an eternity of contentment, even if that eternity were fixed and frozen, like a butterfly mounted in a case. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#50. No one ever expects poetry to sell. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#51. A world with one month is a world of equality. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#52. Well-being and need are purely relative concepts. There is no such thing as poverty in itself, suffering in itself, unhappiness in itself. All is relative. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#53. Such is the cost immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or a woman is free of the weight of the past. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#54. All writers have roots they draw from - travel, work, family. My roots are in science and it is fertile ground for fiction. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#55. Suppose that time is not a quantity but a quality, like the luminescence of the night above the trees just when a rising moon has touched the treeline. Time exists, but it cannot be measured. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#56. In a world where time cannot be measured, there are no clocks, no calendars, no definite appointments. Events are triggered by other events, not by time. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#57. Indeed, what sense is there in continuing the present when one has seen the future? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#58. Scientists will forever have to live with the fact that their product is, in the end, impersonal. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#59. In a world without future, each moment is the end of the world. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#60. My writings are an exploration, and I think a lot of writers would tell you this, but in writing, you're not simply putting down things that are already known to you. You're actually discovering in the writing process, you're actually creating knowledge. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#61. You say, "Something important really happened here. I really had hold of something I was visited by the muse." And that's enough to make you continue the months and years to finish the whole book. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#62. I think all tragedies are best told with some humor. You have to relieve the darkness to let the reader get through it. Also, that life has happiness and sadness mixed together. If you told a story that was all darkness, it wouldn't be real. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#63. Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments, and at others to ride the passion and exuberance. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#64. As a scientist, I don't believe science will ever discover whether God exists. Nor do I believe religion will ever prove it. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#65. I have always loved magic realism as a form of writing. I have also been fascinated for a long time with the intersection of science and religion. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#66. Those of religious faith see time as evidence of god. For surely nothing could be created without a creator. Nothing could be universal and not be divine. All absolutes are part of the One Absolute. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#67. Such is the cost of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or a woman is free of the weight of the past [and the future]. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#68. We live in a highly polarized society. We need to try to understand each other in respectful ways. To that end, I believe that we should make room for both spiritual atheists and thinking believers. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#69. I think e-mail is representative of our fast food mentality in the United States, where everything has gotten faster and faster, and we're required to respond to inputs more quickly with less time for thought and reflection. I believe that we need to slow down. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#70. If a person holds no ambitions in this world, he suffers unknowingly. If a person holds ambitions, he suffers knowingly, but very slowly. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#71. I would think that you are more fluent with the rational. It has its appeal. But the irrational permits a greater exercise of ... shall we say, power. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#72. Order is the law of nature, the universal trend, the cosmic direction. If time is an arrow, that arrow points toward order. The future is pattern, organization, union, intensification; the past, randomness, confusion, disintegration, dissipation. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#73. No one knows the nature of God, or even if God exists. In a sense, all of our religions are literary works of the imagination. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#74. ... part of the grief was that each member of the family was mourning his own mortality. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#75. Philosophers have argued without a trend toward order; time would lack meaning. The future would be indistinguishable from the past. Sequences of events would be just so many random scenes from a thousand novels. History would be indistinct, like the mist slowly gathered by treetops in evening. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#76. Oh, love is very much a physical thing ... I realize that it's very complicated, and I'm sure it can't be traced to individual neurons and hormones, but I think it's very much a physiological sensation that takes place in the brain. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#77. With a background in science I am extremely interested in the meeting ground of science, theology, and philosophy, especially the ethical questions at the border of science and theology. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#78. I have a number of vague ideas where I just have the core or kernel of the idea. I feel like I need some time for my mind to fill up again. I feel empty. Right now. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#79. While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#80. As long as God does not intervene in the contemporary universe in such a way as to violate physical laws, science has no way of knowing whether God exists or not. The belief or disbelief in such a Being is therefore a matter of faith. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#81. A good book changes for you every few years because you are in a different place in your own life. That's a sign of a good novel. Not only will two different readers get something different but so will a single reader at different points in his life. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#82. But what is the past? Could it be, the firmness of the past is just illusion? Could the past be a kaleidoscope, a pattern of images that shift with each disturbance of a sudden breeze, a laugh, a thought? And if the shift is everywhere, how would we know? - Author: Alan Lightman
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#83. A writer is someone who has a one-man tent in the desert and occasionally he sees the footprint of an other writer - in the form of a review or something. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#84. I go live in Maine for the summer. Without computer, and without the telephone service we are mercifully without the faxes and e-mails. So it's really about two and a half months that I'll feel like I can recover some silence in my life ... which is so hard to find. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#85. We're plugged in 24 hours a day now. We're all part of one big machine, whether we are conscious of that or not. And if we can't unplug from that machine, eventually we're going to become mindless. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#86. His dreams have taken hold of his research. His dreams have worn him out, exhausted him so that he sometimes cannot tell whether he is awake or asleep. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#87. In a world of shifting past, these memories are wheat in wind, fleet in dreams, shapes in clouds. Events, once happened, lose reality, alter with a glance, a storm, a night. In time, the past never happened. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#88. Writers are a loosely knit community - community is an overstated word. Writers don't see each other very much. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#89. Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic. Sometimes the first precedes the second, and sometimes the second the first. Or perhaps cause lies forever in the past effect in the future, but future and past are intertwined. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#90. You've made something grand, but it will be grander if it has feeling and beauty and harmony. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#91. One day I'm going to write a book about osprey . It has really gotten deep into my bloodstream. So when you ask what else I do, I feel like this is part of what I do ... is to watch these birds. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#92. The Book of Telling tells of a woman's journey to uncover the secret life of her father and to find herself in the process, an unusual counterpoint between personal history and the history of a young nation. Haunting, powerful, and beautifully written. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#93. A life is a moment in season. A life is one snowfall. A life is one autumn day. A life is the delicate, rapid edge of a closing door's shadow. A life is a brief movement of arms and of legs. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#94. I value my correspondence with writers ... I was in New York and had lunch with Oliver Sachs and compared notes with him - he is someone I really like. I love staying in written correspondence with some writers. That's enough for me. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#95. The catchers delight in the moment so frozen but soon discover that the nightingale expires, its clear flutelike song diminishes to silence, the trapped moment grows withered and without life. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#96. Another strand of my writing is the importance of the idea. If you think about fiction writing as a spectrum, where at one end of the spectrum in the infrared, are the story tellers, and the people for whom creation of wonderful characters and telling a good story is the most important thing. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#97. In a world of fixed future, there can be no right or wrong. Right and wrong demand freedom of choice, but if each action is already chosen, there can be no freedom of choice. In a world of fixed future, no person is responsible. The rooms are already arranged. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#98. Time paces forward with exquisite regularity, at precisely the same velocity in every corner of space. Time is an infinite ruler. Time is absolute. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#99. I consider myself a spiritual atheist. I certainly believe there are forces bigger than ourselves, and that we should be searching, individually, for meaning in our lives. But I don't believe there's a supreme being, an intelligence that created everything. - Author: Alan Lightman
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#100. I'm humbled and enormously grateful to be connected to [Franz] Kafka in a any way. He is one of the writers I admire. I think he has been a big influence on me. I appreciate the idea of the individual person battling the society - which is true in all his books. - Author: Alan Lightman
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