Quotes about intelligence

A collection of quotes on the topic of intelligence.

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Coco Chanel photo

„In 1919 I woke up famous. I'd never guessed it. If I'd known I was famous, I'd have stolen away and wept. I was stupid. I was supposed to be intelligent. I was sensitive and very dumb.“

—  Coco Chanel French fashion designer 1883 - 1971

As quoted in Coco Chanel : Her Life, Her Secrets (1971), p. 95
In 1919 I woke up famous and with a new friend who was to give its full meaning to my success.
Statement to Salvador Dalí, about herself and her friendship with Misia Sert, as quoted in The Persistence of Memory : A Biography of Dali (1992) by Meredith Etherington-Smith

Antonio Gramsci photo

„I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.“

—  Antonio Gramsci Italian writer, politician, theorist, sociologist and linguist 1891 - 1937

Letter from Prison (19 December 1929); also attributed to Romain Rolland.
Source: Gramsci's Prison Letters

Bertolt Brecht photo
Bertrand Russell photo

„The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970

Often paraphrased as "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
Compare: "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision." B. Russell, New Hopes for a Changing World (1951). Compare also: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming (1919).
See also: Dunning-Kruger effect, Historical Antecedents https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect#Historical_antecedents.
1930s, Mortals and Others (1931-35)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe photo

„It is the most foolish of all errors for young people of good intelligence to imagine that they will forfeit their originality if they acknowledge truth already acknowledged by others.“

—  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German writer, artist, and politician 1749 - 1832

Der thörigste von allen Irrthümern ist, wenn junge gute Köpfe glauben, ihre Originalität zu verlieren, indem sie das Wahre anerkennen, was von andern schon anerkannt worden.
Maxim 254, trans. Stopp
Maxims and Reflections (1833)

Simone de Beauvoir photo
John Galt (novelist) photo
Stephen Hawking photo

„It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.“

—  Stephen Hawking British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author 1942 - 2018

From the lecture Life in the Universe http://hawking.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65 (1996)

Stephen Hawking photo
Stephen Hawking photo

„Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.“

—  Stephen Hawking British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author 1942 - 2018

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Albert Einstein photo

„Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Actually written by E. F. Schumacher in a 1973 essay titled "Small is Beautiful" which appeared in The Radical Humanist: volume 37, p. 22 http://books.google.com/books?id=oA0IAQAAIAAJ&q=%22more+violent%22#search_anchor. Earliest published source found on Google Books attributing this to Einstein is BMJ: The British Medical Journal, volume 319, 23 October 1999, p. 1102 http://books.google.com/books?id=bQk7AQAAIAAJ&q=%22more+violent%22#search_anchor. It was attributed to Einstein on the internet somewhat before that, for example in this 1997 post http://groups.google.com/group/alt.weemba/msg/2bbf56ab8f4f757d?hl=en.
Misattributed

François Arago photo

„I have discovered, in fact, that a man, whatever may have been his origin, his education, and his habits, is governed, under certain circumstances, much more by his stomach than by his intelligence and his heart.“

—  François Arago French mathematician, physicist, astronomer and politician 1786 - 1853

"The History of My Youth", p. 55.
Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859)
Context: I was often humiliated to see men disputing for a piece of bread, just as animals might have done. My feelings on this subject have very much altered since I have been personally exposed to the tortures of hunger. I have discovered, in fact, that a man, whatever may have been his origin, his education, and his habits, is governed, under certain circumstances, much more by his stomach than by his intelligence and his heart.

Maya Angelou photo
Octavia E. Butler photo
Jennifer Beals photo
Paul Allen photo

„I simply wanted to advance the field of artificial intelligence so that computers could do what they do best (organize and analyze information) to help people do what they do best, those inspired leaps of intuition that fuel original ideas and breakthroughs.“

—  Paul Allen American inventor, investor and philanthropist 1953 - 2018

The Washington Post: "Thought process: Building an artificial brain" http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/09/30/brain/ (30 September 2015)

Ludwig Wittgenstein photo
Timothy Leary photo

„Intelligence is the ultimate aphrodisiac“

—  Timothy Leary American psychologist 1920 - 1996

Richard Feynman photo

„I have a limited intelligence and I've used it in a particular direction.“

—  Richard Feynman, book The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

" The Pleasure of Finding Things Out http://www.worldcat.org/wcpa/servlet/DCARead?standardNo=0738201081&standardNoType=1&excerpt=true", p. 2-3, transcript of BBC TV Horizon interview (1981): video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEwUwWh5Xs4&t=2m53s
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999)
Context: I've always been rather very one-sided about the science, and when I was younger, I concentrated almost all my effort on it. I didn't have time to learn, and I didn't have much patience for what's called the humanities; even though in the university there were humanities that you had to take, I tried my best to avoid somehow to learn anything and to work on it. It's only afterwards, when I've gotten older and more relaxed that I've spread out a little bit — I've learned to draw, and I read a little bit, but I'm really still a very one-sided person and don't know a great deal. I have a limited intelligence and I've used it in a particular direction.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“