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Ultimately you want to have the entire world's knowledge connected directly to your mind.

SERGEY BRIN, Playboy, Sep. 2004

All knowledge, when separated from justice and virtue, is seen to be cunning and not wisdom.

PLATO, Menexenus

There's so much knowledge to be had that specialists cling to their specialties as a shield against having to know anything about anything else. They avoid being drowned.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Prelude to Foundation

Although humans have existed on this planet for perhaps 2 million years, the rapid climb to modern civilization within the last 200 years was possible due to the fact that the growth of scientific knowledge is exponential; that is, its rate of expansion is proportional to how much is already known. The more we know, the faster we can know more. For example, we have amassed more knowledge since World War II than all the knowledge amassed in our 2-million-year evolution on this planet. In fact, the amount of knowledge that our scientists gain doubles approximately every 10 to 20 years.

MICHIO KAKU, Hyperspace

He that knew all that ever Learning writ,
Knew only this -- that he knew nothing yet.

APHRA BEHN, The Emperor of the Moon

I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding, they learn by some other way — by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!

RICHARD FEYNMAN, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman

Everybody knows something, and nobody knows everything.

DUSTY BAKER, Esquire, Apr. 2004

In things which we know, everyone will trust us ... and we may do as we please, and no one will like to interfere with us; and we are free, and masters of others; and these things will be really ours, for we shall turn them to our good.

PLATO, Lysis

We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: "you don't know what you are talking about!". The second one says: "what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?"

RICHARD FEYNMAN, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, 8-2

How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.

MARY SHELLEY, Frankenstein

I should not like to say ... that any kind of knowledge is not to be learned; for all knowledge appears to be a good.

PLATO, Laches

Knowledge forbidden?
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know,
Can it be death? And do they only stand
By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin!

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

If there's anything worse than knowing too little, it's knowing too much. Education will broaden a narrow mind, but there's no known cure for a big head. The best you can hope is that it will swell up and bust.

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

When the fields of human knowledge are so various and so vast as is the case in our day, the utmost that can be done by single minds not of encyclopedic range, is to master one subject or branch of subject as thoroughly as possible, and to rest content with knowing that others are working in regions where neither time nor strength will permit us to enter.

HENRY PARRY LIDDON, Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford

Those who have knowledge are more confident than those who have no knowledge, and they are more confident after they have learned than before.

PLATO, Protagoras

We just do not see how very specialized the use of "I know" is.


Hence the strong attraction which magic and science alike have exercised on the human mind; hence the powerful stimulus that both have given to the pursuit of knowledge. They lure the weary enquirer, the footsore seeker, on through the wilderness of disappointment in the present by their endless promises of the future: they take him up to the top of an exceeding high mountain and show him, beyond the dark clouds and rolling mists at his feet, a vision of the celestial city, far off, it may be, but radiant with unearthly splendour, bathed in the light of dreams.

JAMES FRAZER, The Golden Bough

If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.

BALTASAR GRACIAN, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

There's a vast difference between having a carload of miscellaneous facts sloshing around loose in your head and getting all mixed up in transit, and carrying the same assortment properly boxed and crated for convenient handling and immediate delivery.

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

The heavens and the earth, the woods and the wayside, teem with instruction and knowledge to the curious and thoughtful.

HOSEA BALLOU, Treasury of Thought

Close beside my knowledge lies my black ignorance.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Oh Christ, the exhaustion of not knowing anything. It's so tiring and hard on the nerves. It really takes it out of you, not knowing anything. You're given comedy and miss all the jokes. Every hour you get weaker. Sometimes, as I sit alone in my flat in London and stare at the window, I think how dismal it is, how heavy, to watch the rain and not know why it falls.

MARTIN AMIS, Money: A Suicide Note

The true method of knowledge is experiment.

WILLIAM BLAKE, All Religions are One

Practically all knowledge resolves itself into four forms: the knowledge of what to do, how to do, and when to do, and of what not to do.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

New knowledge leads always to yet more awesome mysteries.

STEPHEN KING, The Gunslinger

As I came not into life with any knowledge of it, and as my likings are for what is old, I busy myself in seeking knowledge there.

CONFUCIUS, The Wisdom of Confucius

All men by nature desire to know.

ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics

Knowledge enormous makes a God of me.

JOHN KEATS, Hyperion

That stupid saying "What you don't know can't hurt you" is ridiculous. What you don't know can kill you. If you don't know that tractor trailer trucks hurt when hitting you, then you can play in the middle of the interstate with no fear - but that doesn't mean you won't get killed.

DAVE RAMSEY, Financial Peace Revisited

Knowledge without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.


Our human knowledge is a candle burnt
On a dim altar to a sun-vast Truth.

SRI AUROBINDO, Gems from Sri Aurobindo

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Read Walter Matthews' essay: How to Acquire Knowledge


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