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The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

STEPHEN HAWKING, attributed, The Prism and the Rainbow

Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.

FRANK HERBERT, Children of Dune

If you are truly wise, you will conceal your knowledge from the world, and let every fool think himself your superior, especially if you have anything to gain by him; for envy is the strongest passion of the weak, and mediocrity is the hot-bed on which all the meaner passions flourish.

CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos

The further knowledge advances, the nearer we come to the unfathomable.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

What we know is built on what we do not know.


Information and knowledge: two currencies that have never gone out of style.

NEIL GAIMAN, American Gods

The misapplication of our knowledge is, in general, more injurious to our happiness and interest, than either the privations of ignorance, or the disqualifications of inexperience.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Men have hunger, sleep, fear and carnal intercourse in common with the lower animals. It is only knowledge that a man has more than they. Those men who have not it may be regarded as beasts.

CHANAKYA, Vridda-Chanakya

I know somewhat too much; and from this knowledge, once one has been infected, there seems to be no recovering.

J. M. COETZEE, Waiting for the Barbarians

Seek knowledge from the purest source.


Knowledge of the world depends on the power of drawing general inferences from individual examples; and he is the most likely to be correct who has the greatest number of facts at his command.

CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos

Human knowledge is the parent of doubt.

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters and Reflections

Knowledge is the most democratic source of power.


All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance.

T. S. ELIOT, The Rock

Let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing.

JOHN ADAMS, A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law

To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is ... the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind. It prolongs life itself and enlarges the sphere of existence.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, report on the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution, 1846

Knowledge often cuts the root that supports it.


It's a hard talk for a man to say I don't know; it hurts his pride: but should not the pretending he does, hurt it much more?

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters, and Reflections

The world grows more enlightened. Knowledge is more equally diffused.

JOHN ADAMS, Discourses on Davila, No. 13

I do not approve the maxim which desires a man to know a little of everything. Superficial knowledge, knowledge without principles, is almost always useless and sometimes harmful knowledge.


Knowledge grows exponentially. The more we know, the greater our ability to learn, and the faster we expand our knowledge base.

DAN BROWN, The Lost Symbol

To receive instruction and knowledge is as natural as to receive the light of the sun, if a man opens his eyes.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment the treasurer of a wise man. He that has more knowledge than judgment, is made for another man's use more than his own.

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Soli

Knowledge without follow-through is worse than no knowledge at all. because if you're guessing and it doesn't work out you can just say, shit, the gods are against me. but if you know and don't do, you've got attics and dark halls in your mind to walk up and down in and wonder about. this ain't healthy, leads to unpleasant evenings, too much to drink and the shredding machine.

CHARLES BUKOWSKI, Notes of a Dirty Old Man

Knowledge alone doth not amount to Virtue; but certainly there is no Virtue without Knowledge.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

That is the beginning of knowledge--the discovery of something we do not understand.

FRANK HERBERT, God Emperor of Dune

Knowledge is a tool, and like all tools, its impact is in the hands of the user.

DAN BROWN, The Lost Symbol

We are trained to believe and not to know.


As with all knowledge, once you knew it, you couldn't imagine how it was that you hadn't known it before.

MARGARET ATWOOD, The Year of the Flood

The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn
When teachers themselves are taught to learn.

BERTOLT BRECHT, Life of Galileo

Too much knowledge never makes for simple decisions.

FRANK HERBERT, Children of Dune

The less we know, the longer the explanation.


The Unknown is not the Unknowable; it need not remain the unknown for us, unless we choose ignorance or persist in our first limitations. For to all things that are not unknowable, all things in the universe, there correspond in that universe faculties which can take cognisance of them, and in man, the microcosm, these faculties are always existant and at a certain stage capable of development. We may choose not to develop them; where they are partially developed, we may discourage and impose on them a kind of atrophy. But, fundamentally all possible knowledge is knowledge within the power of humanity.

SRI AUROBINDO, The Life Divine

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Read James Vila Blake's essay: Of Knowledge


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