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
(Argosy All-story Weekly, Volume 129, Issue 3, F.A. Munsey., 1921, The Time Professor By Ray Cummings, P. 373) source
Note: Here is a big list of free issues of “The Argosy“.
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.”
(The Girl In the Golden Atom: Science Fiction Legend By Ray Cummings, VM eBooks, 2016, Ch. V, The World In The Ring) source
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 Man Who Mastered Time By Ray Cummings, New York: Ace Books, 1929, P. 6) source
(The quote is also found here.)
The second one is by the character Lotto:
(The Man Who Mastered Time By Ray Cummings, New York: Ace Books, 1929, Ch. One, P. 14) source
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 Shadow Girl By Ray Cummings, Ch. V, Ace Books, 1962, P. 48) source
(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) source
You can also read the full 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.
Free Ray Cummings Writings
Here is list of sites packed with FREE Ray 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 also available at:
This is an article by R. D. Mullen about two early works by Ray Cummings: “The Fire People” and “Around the Universe”.