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Quotations about Wisdom



The beginning of our destruction started the day we began destroying ancient wisdom. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015


Every man is a damn fool at least ten minutes a day. Wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1909


Experience is the father, and memory the mother of wisdom. ~Proverb


Wisdom begins at the end: remember it. ~John Webster (c.1580–c.1632)


Wisdom is not what you know but how quickly you adjust when the opposite proves true. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk. ~Doug Larson, United Feature Syndicate, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1986


Wisdom is the most beautiful ornament of the human race. ~Annæ Mariæ à Schurman, 1638  [Sapientia est generis humani ornamentum pulcherrimum. I've paraphrased this from her letter to Patri Andreas Rivetus. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


It is a question not of hope or despair, but of truth; not of optimism nor of Pessimism, but of wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Starr Jordan


One does not grow wiser by knowing more but by becoming less certain. ~Robert Brault, 2017, rbrault.blogspot.com


Some wise men would do well to exchange a portion of their weighty wisdom for the lighter burden of their neighbors' innocent folly. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


The years teach much which the days never know. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience"


When I can look Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange — my youth.
~Sara Teasdale, "Wisdom"


Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another. ~Juvenal, translated by G. G. Ramsay, 1918


A single conversation with a wise man during the eating of a meal, is better than ten years' mere study of books. ~Chinese proverb  [Quoted in Justus Doolittle, A Vocabulary and Hand-Book of the Chinese Language, Romanized in the Mandarin Dialect, "Metaphorical and Proverbial Sentences," 1872. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something. ~Will Rogers


Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences... ~Norman Cousins, 1978


He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom. ~James Huneker, "The Artist and His Wife," The Pathos of Distance: A Book of a Thousand and One Moments, 1913


For each generation must find the wisdom of the ages in the form of its own wisdom. ~Erik H. Erikson, "Human Strength and the Cycle of Generations," Insight and Responsibility, 1964


...wisdom comes by disillusion... ~George Santayana, 1905


We become wise by observing what happens when we're not. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


Wisdom is digested experience... ~Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin), 1917 March 29th


Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop
Than when we soar...
~William Wordsworth, "The Excursion," 1814


The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Young Practitioner," 1871


Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
~William Cowper, "The Winter Walk at Noon"


Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers... ~Alfred Lord Tennyson


If wisdom and diamonds grew on the same tree we could soon tell how much men loved wisdom. ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is the Bible Worth Reading and Other Essays, 1911


The toughest test of good judgment is to know when to withhold your better judgment. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Why, thou say'st well. I do now remember a saying: "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." ~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, c.1599  [V, 1, Audrey]


To be ultimately wise is to know everything, none of it for sure. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


As the art of reading (after a certain stage in one's education) is the art of skipping, so the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. ~William James, "Reasoning," 1878


To be wise for others is easier than to be wise for ourselves. ~François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)


We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom. ~Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)


For Wisdom is not only to be acquired, but enjoyed. ~Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)


Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day. ~Zen proverb


There are subjects in which I wish to become knowledgeable, and subjects in which I wish to remain wise. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


When the wisdom speaks, be silent. Do not waste your candle when the sun is there. ~Mehmet Murat ildan


Silence is wisdom's sentinel. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


Every wise man lives in an observatory. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


You must be very wise if you know what you mean. ~John Kendrick Bangs, "Jimmieboy's Valentine," Bikey the Skicycle, 1902


I've only yet to see the apparition of enlightenment, and it always slips past in my periphery. ~Terri Guillemets, "Mist," 2002


Mr. Copperfield... told her, when she doubted herself, that a loving heart was better and stronger than wisdom... ~Charles Dickens, The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger, of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant To Be Published On Any Account), "Chapter IX: I have a memorable birthday," 1849  [This is often quoted as: "A loving heart is the truest wisdom." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


"Some persons hold," he pursued, still hesitating, "that there is a wisdom of the Head, and that there is a wisdom of the Heart..." ~Charles Dickens, Hard Times, 1854


Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Mothers, teach your children this. Teach your children that Wisdom is everywhere. In pieces. Some of the Wisdom is in the trees, some of the Wisdom is with the animals. Some of the Wisdom is with the planets and the stars and the moons and the sun. Some of the Wisdom flows with the waters. Some of the Wisdom was with our ancestors. Some of the Wisdom is in our minds. All of the Wisdom is from the Spirit of God. ~Esther Davis-Thompson, "Spiritual Nourishment," MotherLove: Re-Inventing a Good and Blessed Future for Our Children, 1999


No, no, no, no. How often must I tell you that we are made wise not by the recollections of our past, but by the responsibilities of our future. ~Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch, 1921


Life is one long experiment in learning. Who can be perfect all the time? Sometimes I feel half-wise, sometimes half-stupid. ~Terri Guillemets


...common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)





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