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Ignorance


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Quotations

Dave BarryWe journalists make it a point to know very little about an extremely wide variety of topics; this is how we stay objective.

—  Dave Barry, 1947-, American journalist

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Robert BenchleyI have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well.

—  Robert Benchley, 1889-1945, American columnist

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Mignon McLaughlinIt's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.

—  Mignon McLaughlin, 1913-1983, American magazine editor

SocratesThere is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

—  Socrates, 469-399 BC, Ancient Geek Philosopher

G. K. ChestertonImpartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.

—  G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936, English writer & critic

Calvin CoolidgeIt is characteristic of the unlearned that they are forever proposing something which is old, and because it has recently come to their own attention, supposing it to be new.

—  Calvin Coolidge, 1872-1933, American President [1923-1929]

ConfuciusIgnorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.

—  Confucius, 551-479 BC, Chinese teacher & philosopher

Michel de MontaigneNothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.

—  Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592, French thinker

Benjamin FranklinThe only thing that is more expensive than education is ignorance.

—  Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American politician & writer

Wolfgang GoetheNothing is more frightful than to see ignorance in action.

—  Wolfgang Goethe, 1749-1832, German poet & philosopher

H.L. MenckenDemocracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

—  H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956, American columnist & cultural critic

Ralph Waldo EmersonThere are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1884, American philosopher

VoltaireDoctors are men who prescribe medicine of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, for human beings of which they know nothing.

—  Voltaire, 1694-1778, French philosopher & writer

Thomas EdisonWe don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.

—  Thomas Edison, 1847-1934, American inventor

Sacha GuitryThe little I know, I owe to my ignorance.

—  Sacha Guitry, 1885-1957, French writer

Will DurantSixty years ago I knew everything. Now I know nothing. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Alfred North WhiteheadNot ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.

—  Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, British philosopher & mathematician

Isaac AsimovUncertainty that comes from knowledge (knowing what you don't know) is different from uncertainty coming from ignorance.

—  Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992, American Sci-Fi writer

Thomas JeffersonHe who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

—  Thomas Jefferson, 1749-1826, American President [1801-1809]

Lyndon JohnsonBooks and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.

—  Lyndon Johnson, 1908-1973, American President [1963-1969]

Carl SaganWe live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

—  Carl Sagan, 1934-1996, American astronomer

Carl SaganWe are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

—  Carl Sagan, 1934-1996, American astronomer

Arthur ClarkeI’m a scientific expert; that means I know nothing about absolutely everything

—  Arthur Clarke, 1917-2008, British Sci-Fi writer

George Bernard ShawHe knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

—  George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish writer, Nobel 1925

William ShakespeareBut, for my own part, it was Greek to me.

—  William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet & playwright ‐ Julius Caesar

Charles DarwinIgnorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

—  Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, British scientist


Ancient Greek

SolonI know one thing, that I know nothing.

Εν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα.

—  Solon, 630-560 BC, Ancient Greek lawmaker & philosopher

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Let no one untrained in geometry enter.

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.

—  Motto over the entrance to Plato's Academy

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ThucydidesIgnorance is bold, knowledge is reserved.

Αμαθία μεν θράσος, λογισμός δε όκνον φέρει.

—  Thucydides, 460-394 BC, Ancient Greek historian

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HeraclitusIt is better to conceal ignorance than to expose it.

Κρύπτειν αμαθίην κρέσσον, ή ες το μέσον φέρειν.

—  Heraclitus, 544-484 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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Proverbs

English proverbWhat you don't know won’t hurt you.

—  English proverb

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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou