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Quotations about knowledge

John AdamsLet us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.

 - John Adams

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

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

 - Isaac Asimov

Albert EinsteinImagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

 - Albert Einstein

Friedrich NietzscheOnce upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.

 - Friedrich Nietzsche

ConfuciusHe who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.

 - Confucius

Michael CrichtonIf you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.

 - Michael Crichton

Carl RogersIf we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.

 - Carl Rogers

James MadisonA popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

 - James Madison

Carl JungMistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.

 - Carl Jung

The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.

 - Stephen Fry

Abdul KalamWhen learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes.

 - A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Richard FeynmanYou can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.

 - Richard Feynman

William HazlittThere are many who talk on from ignorance rather than from knowledge, and who find the former an inexhaustible fund of conversation.

 - William Hazlitt

Bertrand RussellI do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.

 - Bertrand Russell

Bertrand RussellThree passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

 - Bertrand Russell

Arthur Conan DoyleDepend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge, you forget some thing that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.

 - Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan DoyleA man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

 - Arthur Conan Doyle

Stephen HawkingThere may be ultimate answers, but if there are, I would be sorry if we were to find them. For my own sake I would like very much to find them, but their discovery would leave nothing for those coming after me to seek. Each generation builds on the advances of the previous generation, and this is as it should be. As human beings, we need the quest.

 - Stephen Hawking

David HumeCuriosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure, education, genius and example to make it govern any person.

 - David Hume

Michel de MontaigneKnowledge is an excellent drug; but no drug has virtue enough to preserve itself from corruption and decay, if the vessel be tainted and impure therein it is put to keep.

 - Michel de Montaigne

Michel de MontaigneThe reason why borrowed books are so seldom returned to their owners is that it is much easier to retain the books than what is in them.

 - Michel de Montaigne

Mark TwainThe man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.

 - Mark Twain

William PennThe first thing obvious to children is what is sensible; and that we make no part of their rudiments. We press their memory too soon, and puzzle, strain, and load them with words and rules; to know grammar and rhetoric, and a strange tongue or two, that it is ten to one may never be useful to them; leaving their natural genius to mechanical and physical, or natural knowledge uncultivated and neglected; which would be of exceeding use and pleasure to them through the whole course of their Life.

 - William Penn

John F. KennedyIf this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

 - John F. Kennedy

Richard FeynmanIf, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis . . . that all things are made of atoms -- little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.

 - Richard Feynman

John ZimanAlthough the best and most famous scientific discoveries seem to open whole new windows of the mind, a typical scientific paper has never pretended to be more than another piece in a large jig-saw; not significant in itself but as an element in a grander scheme. This technique, of soliciting many modest contributions to the vast store of human knowledge, has been the secret of western science since the seventeenth century, for it achieves a corporate collective power that is far greater than any one individual can exert. Primary scientific papers are not meant to be final statements of indisputable truths; each is merely a tiny tentative step forward, through the jungle of ignorance.

 - John Ziman

Michel FoucaultIf those arrangements [the fundamental arrangements of knowledge] were to disappear as they appeared...then one cancertainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.

 - Michel Foucault

Albert EinsteinI am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

 - Albert Einstein

Mencius What people are able to do without having learned it is an expression of original, good ability. What they know without having to think about it is an expression of original, good knowledge. There are no young children who do not know enough to love their parents, and there are none who, as they grow older, do not know enough to respect their older brothers. To be affectionate toward those close to one -- this is humaneness. To have respect for elders -- this is rightness. All that remains is to extend these to the entire world.

 - Mencius