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Creative quotes and quotations
On Unpredictability...


One of the most annoying things about creativity, at least if you are trying to make money out of it, is that it is completely unpredictable. You can have a brilliant idea instantaneously and you can spend years pondering the same problem. Ah well, at least it’s nice when the idea arrives at last.

See also

chaos*, discovery, emergence, incubation, risk*, time


‘The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the only one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!", but rather, "Hmm... that’s funny...".’

Isaac Asimov

‘I always think of myself not so much as a painter but as a medium for accident and chance.’

Francis Bacon

‘I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me.’

Charles Darwin

‘When nothing is sure, everything is possible.’

Margaret Drabble

‘All the laws you can lay down are only so many props to be cast aside when the hour of creation arrives.’

Raoul Dufy

Innovation is hard to schedule.’

Dan Fylstra

‘One never goes so far as when one doesn’t know where one is going.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘The ultimate solutions to problems are rational; the process of finding them is not.’

W. H. H. Gordon

‘...perhaps it is when we feel truly lost, groping our way somewhere between the in breath and the out breath, that the gods are most near.’

Michael Jones

‘The field of possibility has its own timetable.’

Michael Jones

‘Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.’

Charles F. Kettering

‘Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. A new idea is a light that illuminates presences which simply had no form before the light fell on them.’

Susan Langer

‘The thoughts that come often unsought and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have.’

John Locke

‘You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has not choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.’

Franz Kafka

‘Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.’


‘When a torrent sweeps a man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory.’

Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.’

Mark Twain

‘If we do not find anything pleasant, at least we shall find something new.’


‘It’s not hard to get the ideas when they come. They just come... it’s painful waiting for them.’

Oscar Wilde



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