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The history of knowledge is a great fugue in which the voices of the nations one after the other emerge.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

What we know is to what we do not know, as a grain of sand is to the beach.

IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

The further we advance in knowledge, the more simplicity shall we discover in those primary rules that regulate all the apparently endless, complicated, and multiform operations of the Godhead.


A youth's knowledge is like a cheap shotgun--likely to do as much damage to the owner as to the game.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

When the panting and thirsting soul first drinks the delicious waters of truth, when the moral and intellectual tastes and desires first seize the fragrant fruits that flourish in the garden of knowledge, then does the child catch a glimpse and foretaste of heaven.


Omniscience ... is an excellent quality in God, but suspect in everyone else.

JENNIFER LEE CARRELL, Interred With Their Bones

Where thou perceivest knowledge, bend the ear of attention and respect;
But yield not further to the teaching, than as thy mind is warranted by reasons.
Better is an obstinant disputant, that yieldeth inch by inch,
Than the shallow traitor to himself, who surrendereth to half an argument.

MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER, Proverbial Philosophy

Men are more readily contented with no intellectual light than 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.


Knowledge ... shall always bear witness like a clarion to its creator.

LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life

A man who knows the world will not only make the most of everything he does know, but of many things he does not know, and will gain more credit by his adroit mode of hiding his ignorance than the pedant by his awkward attempt to exhibit his erudition.


It is the mystery which lies all around the little we know which makes life so unspeakably interesting. I am thankful that that which I do not know, is so immeasurably greater than that which I know. I am thankful that I am only at the beginning of things.

REUEN THOMAS, Thoughts for the Thoughtful

Knowledge is but an instrument, which the profligate and the flagitious may use as well as the brave and the just.


This desire of knowledge and the wonder which it hopes to satisfy are the driving power behind all the changes that we, with careless, question-begging inference, call progress.

NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER, lecture at Columbia University, Mar. 4, 1908

It does not make much difference what a person studies--all knowledge is related, and the man who studies anything, if he keeps at it, will be learned.

ELBERT HUBBARD, The American Bible

There is but a slight difference between the man who may be said to know nothing and him who thinks he knows everything.

E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words

We ought to be ten times as hungry for knowledge as for food for the body.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

With the growth of knowledge our ideas must from time to time be organized afresh. The change takes place usually in accordance with new maxims as they arise, but it always remains provisional.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

In the pursuit of knowledge, follow it wherever it is to be found; like fern, it is the produce of all climates, and like coin, its circulation is not restricted to any particular class.


All our knowledge is the offspring of our perceptions.

LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life

A man who is ready to converse but has nothing to say worth hearing, is a well without water; he that is rich in knowledge but reserved is a well without a bucket.

JOHN THORNTON, Maxims and Directions for Youth

The greatest piece of folly is that every man thinks himself compelled to hand down what people think they have known.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

If there is anything for which I would go back to childhood, and live this weary life over again, it is for the burning, exalting, transporting thrill and ecstasy with which the young faculties hold their earliest communion with knowledge.


Learned men fall into error oftenest by mistaking knowledge for wisdom.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

Religion has treated knowledge sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as a hostage; often as a captive, and more often as a child: but knowledge has become of age; and religion must either renounce her acquaintance, or introduce her as a companion and respect her as a friend.


When intelligent and sensible people despise knowledge in their old age, it is only because they have asked too much of it and of themselves.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The highest knowledge can be nothing more than the shortest and clearest road to truth; all the rest is pretension, not performance, mere verbiage and grandiloquence, from which we can learn nothing.


At all times it has not been the age, but individuals alone, who have worked for knowledge. It was the age which put Socrates to death by poison, the age which burnt Huss. The ages have always remained alike.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It has been observed that a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant will see farther than the giant himself; and the moderns, standing as they do on the vantage ground of former discoveries and uniting all the fruits of the experience of their forefathers, with their own actual observation, may be admitted to enjoy a more enlarged and comprehensive view of things than the ancients themselves.


The real scholar learns how to evolve the unknown from the known, and draws near the master.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

When we have passed beyond knowings, then we shall have Knowledge.

SRI AUROBINDO, Thoughts and Glimpses


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