“The dance of atoms, electrons and nuclei, which in all its fury is subject to God's eternal laws, has been entangled with another restless Universe which may well be the Devil's: the human struggle for power and domination, which eventually becomes history. My optimistic enthusiasm about the disinterested search for truth has been severely shaken. I wonder at my simplemindedness when I re-read what I said on the modern fulfillment of the alchemist’s dream: ‘Now however, the motive is not the lust for gold, cloaked by the mystery of magic arts, but the scientists' pure curiosity. For it is clear from the beginning that we may not expect wealth, too.’ Gold means power, power to rule and to have a big share in the riches of this world. Modern alchemy is even a short-cut to this end, it provides power directly; a power to dominate and to threaten and hurt on a scale never heard of before. And this power we have actually seen displayed in ruthless acts of warfare, in the devastation of whole cities and the destruction of their population.”
Max Born


From the Postscript to 'The restless universe' (1951), pp. 225-226

Tagged: God, devil, Good, Evil, Alchemy, Power

Explore more quotes:

About the author

This page was created by our editorial team. Each page is manually curated, researched, collected, and issued by our staff writers. Quotes contained on this page have been double checked for their citations, their accuracy and the impact it will have on our readers.

Kelly Peacock is an accomplished poet and social media expert based in Brooklyn, New York. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Farieligh Dickinson University and has contributed to many literary and cultural publications. Kelly assists on a wide variety of quote inputting and social media functions for Quote Catalog. Visit her personal website here.

Kendra Syrdal is a writer, editor, partner, and senior publisher for The Thought & Expression Company. Over the last few years she has been personally responsible for writing, editing, and producing over 30+ million pageviews on Thought Catalog.