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Quotations about wisdom

Isaac AsimovKnowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise -- even in their own field.

 - Isaac Asimov

Carl SaganBooks permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.

 - Carl Sagan

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

 - Isaac Asimov

Mahatma GandhiIt 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.

 - Mahatma Gandhi

William ShakespeareThe fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

 - William Shakespeare

platoWise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

 - Plato

Orson Scott CardThe wise are not wise because they make no mistakes. They are wise because they correct their mistakes as soon as they recognize them.

 - Orson Scott Card

Lao TzuKnowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.

 - Laozi / Lao-Tzu

Lao TzuWise men don't need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.
The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others, the happier he is.
The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is.
The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.


 - Laozi / Lao-Tzu

George KennanIn no field of endeavor is it easier than in the field of foreign affairs to be honestly wrong; in no field is it harder for contemporaries to be certain they can distinguish between wisdom and folly; in no field would it be less practicable to try to insist on infallibility as a mark of fitness for office.

 - George Frost Kennan

Henry Wadsworth LongfellowWith many readers brilliancy of style passes for affluence of thought: they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable gold mines under the ground.

 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Albert EinsteinA clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.

 - Albert Einstein

AristotleLet us be well persuaded that everyone of us possesses happiness in proportion to his virtue and wisdom, and according as he acts in obedience to their suggestion.

 - Aristotle

Francis QuarlesGive not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee prisoner. A word unspoken is like thy sword in thy scabbard; if vented, the sword is in another's hand. If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy tongue.

 - Francis Quarles

platoWisdom alone is the true and unalloyed coin for which we ought to exchange all things, for this and with this everything is bought and sold--fortitude, temperance, and justice; in a word, true virtue subsists with wisdom.

 - Plato

Elbert HubbardEvery man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.

 - Elbert Hubbard

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

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

 - Confucius

BuddhaLet no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not benefit me. Even by the falling of water drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.

 - Gautama Buddha

David HumeIn this sullen apathy neither true wisdom nor true happiness can be found.

 - David Hume

Horace Wise were the kings who never chose a friend till with full cups they had unmasked his soul, and seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts.

 - Horace

Michel de MontaigneThe most manifest sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness; her state is like that of things in the regions above the moon, always clear and serene.

 - Michel de Montaigne

To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.

 - Robert Lewis Stevenson

Thomas SzaszThe stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

 - Thomas Szasz

Mark TwainWe should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again -- and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.

 - Mark Twain

Elizabeth MarySome cultures believe a long life brings wisdom. I'd like to think so. Perhaps part of that wisdom is to recognise some of life's baffling paradoxes, such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil. Even the power of faith, which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice, can fall victim to tribalism. But through the many changes I have seen over the years, faith, family and friendship have been not only a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.

 - Elizabeth