Quotes about mistakes

A collection of quotes on the topic of error.

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Carl R. Rogers photo
Walter O'Brien photo
Luca Pacioli photo
Mahatma Gandhi photo

„I draw no distinction between error and sin. If a man commits a bona fide mistake and confesses it with a contrite heart before his Maker, the merciful Maker sterilizes it of all harm.“

—  Mahatma Gandhi pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism during British-ruled India 1869 - 1948

Harijan (20 October 1946); as quoted in The Encyclopaedia of Gandhian Thoughts (1985)
1940s

James Hamilton photo

„Beloved, you that have faith in the fountain, frequent it. Beware of two errors which are very natural and very disastrous; beware of thinking any sin too great for it; beware of thinking any sin too small.“

—  James Hamilton Scottish minister and a prolific author of religious tracts 1814 - 1867

Source: Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), P. 88.

Jonas Salk photo

„I see the triumph of good over evil as a manifestation of the error-correcting process of evolution.“

—  Jonas Salk Inventor of polio vaccine 1914 - 1995

Academy of Achievement interview (1991)
Context: I judge things from an evolutionary perspective — "How does this serve and contribute to the process of our own evolution?" — rather than think of good and evil in moral terms. I see the triumph of good over evil as a manifestation of the error-correcting process of evolution.

Thomas Paine photo

„From the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom“

—  Thomas Paine, book Common Sense

Source: Common Sense

Leonardo Da Vinci photo
John Dryden photo

„Let those find fault whose wit's so very small,
They've need to show that they can think at all;
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.“

—  John Dryden, All for Love

Prologue
Source: All for Love (1678)
Context: Let those find fault whose wit's so very small,
They've need to show that they can think at all;
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.
Fops may have leave to level all they can;
As pigmies would be glad to lop a man.
Half-wits are fleas; so little and so light,
We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.

Fulton J. Sheen photo
Nikki Giovanni photo
Jack Kerouac photo

„If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.“

—  Jack Kerouac American writer 1922 - 1969

Not a Kerouac quote, but by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), the German scientist, satirist, and Anglophile: http://www.quotes.net/quote/58450
Misattributed

Ramban photo
Bob Marley photo

„You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect—you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break—her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.“

—  Bob Marley Jamaican singer, songwriter, musician 1945 - 1981

Variant: You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect — you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break — her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.

Pindar photo

„But if a man shall hope in aught he does
To escape the eyes of god, he makes an error.“

—  Pindar, book Olympic Odes

Olympian 1, line 63; page 6
Olympian Odes (476 BC)
Original: (el) εἰ δὲ θεὸν ἀνήρ τις ἔλπεταί τι λαθέμεν ἔρδων, ἁμαρτάνει.

Emily Dickinson photo
Antonin Scalia photo

„I have been willing, in the case of civil statutes, to acknowledge a doctrine of scrivener's error that permits a court to give an unusual (though not unheard of) meaning to a word which, if given its normal meaning, would produce an absurd and arguably unconstitutional result.“

—  Antonin Scalia former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1936 - 2016

U.S. v. X-Citement Video Inc., 513 U.S. 64 http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/93-723.ZD.html (1994).
1990s

Edwin Hubble photo
Henrietta Swan Leavitt photo

„The range of H 1255 is only four tenths of a magnitude, and on account of its brightness it is difficult to observe on all plates except those taken with the 1-inch Cooke lens. It seemed necessary, therefore, to take unusual precautions in order to secure accurate observations, and to give each one its full weight. Accordingly, one hundred and thirty six photographs were selected, including nearly all of those taken with the Cooke lens, and also those taken with the 8 inch Bache Telescope on which the variable was certainly faint. Four independent estimates of brightness were made on each plate, and means were taken, thus reducing the probable error one half. The phase was computed for each observation, thus covering all parts of the light curve. …H 1255 and H 1303 differ from the other variables in a marked degree as in each case the duration of the phase of minimum is very long in proportion to the length of the period. This fact led to considerable difficulty in determining their periods as they were apparently at their minimum brightness for some time before and after the actual minima occurred. In H 1255, the change in brightness is obviously continuous throughout the period, although it is much more rapid near minimum than near maximum. This is clearly seen in Plate IV, Figs. 5 and 6.“

—  Henrietta Swan Leavitt astronomer 1868 - 1921

"Ten Variable Stars of the Algol Type" http://books.google.com/books?id=UkdWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA87 (1908) Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College Vol.60. No.5