When did Albert Einstein say the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once?
Never. Einstein did not utter or write this quote about Time:
This is one of the many quotations misattributed to Einstein.
I think the only reason for time is so that this misquote doesn’t happen at once!
Anyway, at this point of writing, I still could not locate from any reliable source, that this quotation is credited to Albert Einstein.
The Only Reason For Time Quote
But here is an interesting finding…
There are similar lines which are found in Ray Cummings’ works.
Raymond King Cummings, or better known as Ray Cummings was an American author of science fiction literature and comic books.
“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” – Ray Cummings
You can also find this same quote again in his 1922 novel “The Girl In The Golden Atom“:
The Big Business Man smiled. “Time,” he said, “is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
You can read the complete novel over here.
Incidentally, Ray Cummings’s 1929 story “The Man Who Mastered Time“, talking about Time and Space, the writer did mentioned Albert Einstein name twice.
In first instance the character Rogers says:
“…I saw in print long before Einstein’s theory was made public.”
The second one is by the character Lotto:
Again, Cummings used the similar concept about Time and Space in the 1929 novel “The Shadow Girl“.
“This same Space, the spread of this lawn in Central Park—what would it be in another hundred years? Or a thousand? This little Space, from the Beginning to the End so crowded with events and only Time to hold them separate!”
(The quote is also found in: Science Fiction Quarterly, No. 6, Spring Issue, 1942, The Shadow Girl, Ch. V, The Flight In Central Park, P.30)
You can also read the whole novel here.
Ray Cummings Books
For those of you who are new to this so-called the “founding fathers” of the science fiction genre, Ray Cummings’ amazing work, this is a treat for you.
Here is list of sources, packed with FREE Cummings’ works:
Books by Ray Cummings found in Project Guttenberg.
Books by Cummings available at Faded Page.
Stories by Ray Cummings available at Internet Archive.
Stories by Ray Cummings available at LibriVox.
This is an article by R. D. Mullen about two early works by Ray Cummings: “The Fire People” and “Around the Universe”.