Lichtenberg on Starting out Right.


Never undertake anything for which you wouldn’t have the courage to ask the blessing of heaven. — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, scientist, 18th Cent.

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Lichtenberg (July 1st 1742- February 24, 1799) was a trained scientist totally dedicated to the “experimental approach” in physics instead of the more traditional theoretical view and held a professorship solely dedicated to it. The mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss (Gaussian blur in photography as well as other theorems) attended them and gave Lichtenberg great credit in his own work.

As an outgrowth of his experimental mindset, Lichtenberg became interested in psychology, especailly dream theory. He was a favorite author of Sigmund Freud, who read him in his teens, quoted him frequently, and called him a “remarkable psychologist.” Despite this, Lichtenberg has been ignored by psychoanalysts and historians of psychiatry alike, and most of his writings are still unavailable in English.

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