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114 observations on wisdom...

Published Tuesday, November 11, 2014 @ 11:22 PM EST
Nov 11 2014

A man doesn't begin to attain wisdom until he recognizes that he is no longer indispensable.
-Richard Byrd

Age does not bring wisdom. Often it merely changes simple stupidity into arrogant conceit.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.
-Anne Bradstreet

Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen.
-Carl Sandburg

But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom?
-John Milton

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.

Cleverness is not wisdom.

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Consistently wise decisions can only be made by those whose wisdom is constantly challenged.
-Theodore (Ted) Sorensen

Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self- imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.
-Stephen Colbert

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
-H.L. Mencken

Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?
-Axel Oxenstierna (1583-1654)

Doubt is the origin of wisdom.
-René Descartes

Education makes us more stupid than the brutes. A thousand voices call to us on every hand, but our ears are stopped with wisdom.
-Jean Giraudoux

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes a day. Wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.
-Elbert Hubbard

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
-Bertrand Russell

Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.
-William Saroyan

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.
-Edmund Burke

Half of wisdom is learning what to unlearn.
-Larry Niven

He is a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom.
-Benjamin Franklin

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
-Thomas Jefferson

I almost think there is no wisdom comparable to that of exchanging what is called the realities of life for dreams.
-Hugh Walpole

I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
-Thomas Jefferson

I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.
-Anatole France

If our wisdom fails to match our science, we will have no second chance. For there will be no one to carry our dreams across another Dark Age, when the dust of all our cities incarnadines the sunsets of the world.
-Arthur C. Clarke

If youth is wasted on the young, wisdom is wasted on the old. (attributed)
-Alan Vanneman

Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.
-Anatole France

It is astonishing what force, purity and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods.
-Margaret Fuller

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
-Walter Lippmann

It's amazing how much mature wisdom resembles being too tired.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.
-Hermann Hesse

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Knowledge tells us that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom prevents us from putting it into fruit salad.
-Miles Kington

Many a man might have known if he had but been aware that he did not know. A sense of ignorance is the doorstep of the palace of wisdom.
-Charles H. Spurgeon

Mixing one's wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.
-Bertolt Brecht

Morality is temporary, wisdom is permanent.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Never accept ultimatums, conventional wisdom, or absolutes.
-Christopher Reeve

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.

Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.
-Theodore Roosevelt

No state can be strong which excludes from its expressed wisdom, the knowledge possessed by mothers, wives and daughters.
-W.E.B. DuBois

Now that I am 60, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.
-John Updike

One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

One of the useful things about age is realizing conventional wisdom is often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.
-Anna Quindlen

Our age has robbed millions of the simplicity of ignorance, and has so far failed to lift them to the simplicity of wisdom.
-Robertson Davies

Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness.
-Sacha Guitry

Ours is a world in which knowledge accumulates and wisdom decays.
-Aldous Huxley

Patience is the companion of wisdom.
-Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine)

So when you pray, ask for wisdom and understanding. Don't bother asking for anything else, because if you have wisdom and understanding you don't need anything else.
-Tommy Chong

Solomon made a great mistake when he asked for wisdom.
-Anton Chekhov

Strength and wisdom are not opposing values.
-Bill Clinton

That is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.
-Ernest Hemingway

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.
-John Stuart Mill

The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.
-Bertolt Brecht

The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful, and then only for a short while.
-Albert Einstein

The beginning of wisdom is the awareness that there is insufficient evidence that a god or gods have created us and the recognition that we are responsible in part for our own destiny. Human beings can achieve this good life, but it is by the cultivation of the virtues of intelligence and courage, not faith and obedience, that we will most likely be able to do so.
-Paul Kurtz

The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

The essence of wisdom is to know when to be doing, and when it's useless even to try.
-Mary Stewart

The fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other.
-Edward R. Murrow

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
-Clarence Darrow

The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.
-Reinhold Neibuhr

The first sigh of love is the last of wisdom.
-Antoine Bret

The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The hope of the world is that wisdom can arrest conflict between brothers. I believe that war is the deadly harvest of arrogant and unreasoning minds.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.
-William Blake

The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.
-Samuel Johnson

The most certain sign of Wisdom is a constant cheerfulness.
-Michel de Montaigne

The old- like children- talk to themselves, for they have reached that hopeless wisdom of experience which knows that though one were to cry it in the streets to multitudes, or whisper it in the kiss to one's beloved, the only ears that can ever hear one's secret are one's own.
-Eugene O'Neill

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
-H.L. Mencken

The possession of facts is knowledge, the use of them is wisdom.
-Thomas Jefferson

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
-Isaac Asimov

The saddest words of pen or tongue are wisdom's wasted on the young.
-James Thurber

The true wisdom is to be always seasonable, and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
-Lin Yutang

The wisdom of the masses is not always... wise.
-Jon Stewart

The wisdom of winter is madness in May.
-Donald Swann

There are compensations for growing older. One is the realization that to be sporting isn't at all necessary. It is a great relief to reach this stage of wisdom.
-Cornelia Otis Skinner

There are more quarrels smothered by just shutting your mouth, and holding it shut, than by all the wisdom in the world.
-Henry Ward Beecher

There are things greater than our wisdom, beyond our justice. The right and wrong of this we cannot say, and it is not for us to judge.
-Jack London

There are two statements about human beings that are true: that all human beings are alike, and that all are different. On these two facts all human wisdom is founded.
-Mark Van Doren

There is a tendency to mistake data for wisdom, just as there has always been a tendency to confuse logic with values, intelligence with insight.
-Norman Cousins

There is a time to battle against Nature, and a time to obey her. True wisdom lies in making the right choice.
-Arthur C. Clarke

There is a wisdom of the Head, and... there is a wisdom of the Heart.
-Charles Dickens

There is something even more valuable to civilization than wisdom, and that is character.
-H.L. Mencken

There is wisdom in madness and strong probability of truth in all accusations, for people are complete and everybody is capable of everything.
-Joseph Heller

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
-Marilyn vos Savant

To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.
-Evelyn Waugh

To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
-Henri Frédéric Amiel

To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.

Understanding is knowing what to do; wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is actually doing it.
-Tristan Gylberd

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.
-Leo Tolstoy

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
-Marcel Proust

We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.
-G.C. Lichtenberg

We must abandon the prevalent belief in the superior wisdom of the ignorant.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.
-Robert E. Lee

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
-Robert F. Kennedy

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries.
-T.S. Eliot

Whether a young man shall reap pleasure or pain from winning the objects of his choice, depends, not only upon his wisdom or folly in selecting those objects, but upon the right or wrong methods by which he pursues them.
-Horace Mann

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too self-ful to seek other than itself.
-Kahlil Gibran

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.
-George Santayana

Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.
-Norman Cousins

Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.
-Tom Wilson

Wisdom is essential in a president, the appearance of wisdom will do in a candidate.
-Eric Sevareid

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
-Albert Einstein

Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop
Than when we soar.
-William Wordsworth

Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.
-Thomas J. Watson

Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
-Doug Larson

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.
-Doug Larson

Wisdom is the strength of the weak.
-Joseph Joubert

Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.
-Felix Frankfurter

Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.
-John Maynard Keynes



(November 12 is the birthday of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harry Blackmun, Charles Manson, and Neil Young )

Categories: Quotes of the day, Wisdom


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