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quotations about knowledge

Always seek knowledge.

What you know is a club for yourself, and what you don't know is a meat-ax for the other fellow.

GEORGE HORACE LORIMER, Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

Men are more readily contented with no intellectual light than with a little; and wherever they have been taught to acquire some knowledge in order to please others, they have most generally gone on to acquire more, to please themselves.


How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there's no help in truth!

SOPHOCLES, Oedipus Rex

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.


I ain't one of those who believe that a half knowledge of a subject is useless, but it has been my experience that when a fellow has that half knowledge he finds it's the other half which would really come in handy.

GEORGE HORACE LORIMER, Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.

PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, letter to his son, Oct. 4, 1746

Ignorance may be bliss, but it certainly is not freedom, except in the minds of those who prefer darkness to light and chains to liberty. The more true information we can acquire, the better for our enfranchisement.

ROBERT HUGH BENSON, Intellectual Slavery

Knowledge is a mimic creation.


Drugs or overeating or alcohol or sex, it was all just another way to find peace. To escape what we know. Our education. Our bite of the apple.


Imagination is more important than knowledge.


A baby has brains, but it doesn't know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.

L. FRANK BAUM, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Knowledge shuts a man's mouth.

ERWIN SYLVANUS, Dr. Korczak and the Children

Knowledge 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, The Roving Mind

There is, perhaps, one universal truth about all forms of human cognition: the ability to deal with knowledge is hugely exceeded by the potential knowledge contained in man's environment. To cope with this diversity, man's perception, his memory, and his thought processes early become governed by strategies for protecting his limited capacities from the confusion of overloading. We tend to perceive things schematically, for example, rather than in detail, or we represent a class of diverse things by some sort of averaged "typical instance."

JEROME S. BRUNER, Art as a Mode of Knowing

Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, speech to Congress, Jan. 8, 1790

Grace is given of God, but knowledge is bought in the market.

ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH, The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich

You must know all there is to know in your particular field and keep on the alert for new knowledge. The least difference in knowledge between you and another man may spell his success and your failure.

HENRY FORD, Theosophist Magazine, Feb. 1930

Yet with great toil all that I can attain
By long experience, and in learned schools,
Is for to know my knowledge is but vain,
And those that think them wise, are greatest fools.


No man's knowledge can go beyond his experience.

JOHN LOCKE, Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.


I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.

RICHARD FEYNMAN, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Can you avoid knowledge? You cannot! Can you avoid technology? You cannot! Things are going to go ahead in spite of ethics, in spite of your personal beliefs, in spite of everything.

JOSE M.R. DELGADO, Scientific American, October 2005

Sorrow is Knowledge: they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.


Knowledge itself is power.

FRANCIS BACON, Meditations Sacrae

Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.


Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, Ideas and Opinions: Based on Mein Weltbild

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.

MARGARET FULLER, Woman's Day Magazine, Sep. 12, 2007

Mathematicians have sought knowledge in figures, Philosophers in systems, Logicians in subtleties, and Metaphysicians in sounds. It is not in any nor in all of these. He that studies only men, will get the body of knowledge without the soul, and he that studies only books, the soul without the body.


In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.

BARACK OBAMA, Address to Joint Session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2009

Information is the mortar that both builds and destroys empires.

TOBSHA LEARNER, The Witch of Cologne

The Royal Road to Knowledge, all may win,
Who seek the source of Life in everything.

EDWIN LEIBFREED, "Veritas Vincit"

Man is an ignoramus athirst for knowledge.


The function of knowledge is to transcend earthly experience, not to wallow in it.

SUSAN HUBBARD, The Society of S

Few can tell what they know without also showing what they do not know.

IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

You have to live to really know things.


As each generation comes into the world devoid of knowledge, its first duty is to obtain possession of the stores already amassed. It must overtake its predecessors before it can pass by them.


The knowledge of useful things is a purse seldom lost.


The most that any of us know, is the least of that which is to be known.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

Knowledge is twofold and consists not only in an affirmation of what is true, but in the negation of what is false.


I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don't know anything about, but I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.

RICHARD FEYNMAN, Horizon interview, 1981

The tiny, initial clue ... by allowing us to imagine what we do not know, stimulates a desire for knowledge.


In the case of various kinds of knowledge, we find that what in former days occupied the energies of men of mature mental ability sinks to the level of information, exercises, and even pastimes for children; and in this educational progress we can see the history of the world’s culture delineated in faint outline.

GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL, The Phenomenology of Spirit

What a man does not understand, he does not possess.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Knowledge will soon become folly, when good sense ceases to be its guardian.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to a mind when it has once seized on it like a lichen on a rock.

MARY SHELLEY, Frankenstein

I tried to think of my knowledge, but it was a squirrel's heap of winter nuts. There was no strength in my knowledge any more and I felt small and naked as a new-hatched bird.

STEPHEN VINCENT BENET, "By the Waters of Babylon"

There is far greater peril in buying knowledge than in buying meat and drink: the one you purchase of the wholesale or retail dealer, and carry them away in other vessels, and before you receive them into the body as food, you may deposit them at home and call in any experienced friend who knows what is good to be eaten or drunken, and what not, and how much, and when; and hence the danger of purchasing them is not so great. But when you buy the wares of knowledge you cannot carry them away in another vessel; they have been sold to you, and you must take them into the soul and go your way, either greatly harmed or greatly benefited by the lesson.

PLATO, Protagoras

All knowledge hurts.


The end of man is knowledge but there's one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge which he hasn't got and which if he had it would save him.

ROBERT PENN WARREN, All the King's Men

In the world we live in, what we know and what we don't know are like Siamese twins, inseparable, existing in a state of confusion.

HARUKI MURAKAMI, Sputnik Sweetheart

A society that fears knowledge is a society that fears itself.


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