Quotes about stupidity

A collection of quotes on the topic of stupidity.

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Mark Twain photo

„Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.“

—  Mark Twain American author and humorist 1835 - 1910

Variant: Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Paul Valéry photo

„Love is being stupid together.“

—  Paul Valéry French poet, essayist, and philosopher 1871 - 1945

Eminem photo

„Question is, are you bozos smart enough to feel stupid?“

—  Eminem American rapper and actor 1972

"Berzerk"
2010s, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)

David Foster Wallace photo

„If, by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility like Enfield MA’s state-funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts…That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. That sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused. That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That boring activities become, perversely, much less boring if you concentrate intently on them. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating intently on anything is very hard work. That 99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves; that 99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then getting ready for things that are going to happen to them; and then, weirdly, that if they stop to think about it, that 100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences of are never good. In short that 99% of the head’s thinking activity consists of trying to scare the everliving shit out of itself. That it is possible to make rather tasty poached eggs in a microwave oven. That some people’s moms never taught them to cover up or turn away when they sneeze. That the people to be the most frightened of are the people who are the most frightened. That it takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak. That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid. That having a lot of money does not immunize people from suffering or fear. That trying to dance sober is a whole different kettle of fish. That different people have radically different ideas of basic personal hygiene. That, perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it. That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz. That anonymous generosity, too, can be abused. That it is permissible to want. That everybody is identical in their unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That this isn’t necessarily perverse. That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels.“

—  David Foster Wallace, book Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest (1996)

Hermann Göring photo

„Hitler decided that. I thought it was stupid because I believed that first we had to defeat England.“

—  Hermann Göring German politician and military leader 1893 - 1946

To Leon Goldensohn, about attacking the Soviets (15 March 1946)
The Nuremberg Interviews (2004)

Mark Twain photo

„It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.“

—  Mark Twain American author and humorist 1835 - 1910

Cited as an example of "What Mark Twain Didn't Say" in Mark Twain by Geoffrey C. Ward, et al.
Misattributed
Variant: It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe photo

„Symmetry is the aesthetics of the stupid.“

—  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe German architect 1886 - 1969

An early appearance is "Symmetry is the aesthetics of the little man," which appears in the 1965 book Bauen auf dem Lande (Building in the Countryside), volumes 16-17. However, the quote has also variously been attributed to Picasso, Salvatore Dali and Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Disputed
Source: "Symmetry is the aesthetics of the stupid." Mies van der Rohe (allegedly), 2018-01-21, 2017-11-12 http://falschzitate.blogspot.com/2017/11/symmetrie-ist-die-asthetik-der-dummen.html,

Johnny Depp photo
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

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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)

Stephen Hawking photo
Rick Riordan photo

„Correct." Kekrops sounded bitter, like he regretted his decision. "My people were the original Athenians--the gemini."
"Like your zodiac sign?" Percy asked. "I'm a Leo."
"No, stupid," Leo said. "I'm a Leo. You're a Percy.“

—  Rick Riordan, book The Blood of Olympus

Variant: Correct." Kekrops sounded bitter, like he regretted his decision. "My people were the original Athenians--the gemini."
"Like your zodiac sign?" Percy asked. "I'm a Leo."
"No, stupid. "I'm a Leo. You're a Percy.
Source: The Blood of Olympus

Chuck Palahniuk photo
G. K. Chesterton photo
Thomas Szasz photo

„The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.“

—  Thomas Szasz Hungarian psychiatrist 1920 - 2012

"Personal Conduct" http://books.google.com/books?id=IYOcAQAAQBAJ&q=%22The+stupid+neither+forgive+nor+forget+the+na%C3%AFve+forgive+and+forget+the+wise+forgive+but+do+not+forget%22&pg=PA177#v=onepage, p. 51. http://openlibrary.org/works/OL15151528W/The_Second_Sin
The Second Sin (1973)

Leo Tolstoy photo
Adolf Hitler photo

„Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.“

—  Adolf Hitler Führer and Reich Chancellor of Germany, Leader of the Nazi Party 1889 - 1945

Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968

Source: 1960s, Strength to Love (1963), Ch. 4 : Love in action, Sct. 3

Bill Cosby photo

„A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need advice.“

—  Bill Cosby American actor, comedian, author, producer, musician, activist 1937

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