Did Einstein really define insanity as “doing the same thing over and expecting different results”? This quote has been passed around for years. Some people say it is from Einstein, while others claim that he never said this.
Let’s see in this blog post, what seems to be true…
Did Einstein Really Define Insanity As “Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting Different Results“?
Many people have debated whether or not this statement is accurate. In order to determine the answer, we need to look at what he actually said about insanity in his writings.
One of his quotes reads: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
However, in the same paragraph Einstein states “In a sense, human endeavor might be described as an attempt to replace ignorance with knowledge.”
Einstein is not discussing insanity. He is discussing how humans are always trying to find new solutions or ways of doing things and this search for something better can sometimes seem like a battle against time.
He may have been referring to what we now call creativity when he used the term “human endeavor” because it has also been said that those who create do so by fighting against their own limitations imposed by society or history.
This quote is from one of Albert Einstein’s writings but does not accurately describe his thoughts on insanity.
In fact, he never says anything about insanity at all!
Einstein was too intelligent to define insanity so narrowly. After all, he was one of the smartest people in history, so probably this is not his literal quote.
This quote has been attributed to him in various places, but does not appear elsewhere in his writings. In fact, this phrase could be interpreted that those who create are fighting against their own limitations imposed by society or history; a sentiment that aligns with both creativity and sanity rather than defining them out of existence!
Some of the most likely proofs of the quote’s origins come from:
- Rita Mae Brown’s 1983 novel, Sudden Death, published by Bantam Books, New York
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) pamphlet – Step 2: A promise of Hope
- Narcotics Anonymous – The Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous which was copyrighted in 1981.
- Other sources claim the quote was written by Benjamin Franklin.
What do you think? Did Einstein really define insanity as “doing the same thing over and expecting different results”?
But at the end of the day, does it really matter who said it first as long as it’s true…?