Quotes about wisdom

A collection of quotes on the topic of wisdom.

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Isaac Asimov photo

„The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.“

—  Isaac Asimov American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, known for his works of science fiction and popular … 1920 - 1992

Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), edited with Jason A. Shulman, p. 281
General sources

Witold Gombrowicz photo
Petronius photo
Hermann Hesse photo

„There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist.“

—  Hermann Hesse, book The Glass Bead Game

The Glass Bead Game (1943)
Context: "If only there were a dogma to believe in. Everything is contradictory, everything tangential; there are no certainties anywhere. Everything can be interpreted one way and then again interpreted in the opposite sense. The whole of history can be explained as development and progress and can also be seen as nothing but decadence and meaninglessness. Isn't there any truth? Is there no real and valid doctrine?"
The Master had never heard him speak so fervently. He walked on in silence for a little, then said, "There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. Be prepared for conflicts, Joseph Knecht — I can see they have already begun."

Hermann Hesse photo

„Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish… Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.“

—  Hermann Hesse German writer 1877 - 1962

Siddhartha (1922)
Context: Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

Adam Weishaupt photo
Buckminster Fuller photo

„I am convinced that human continuance depends entirely upon: the intuitive wisdom of each and every individual“

—  Buckminster Fuller American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor and futurist 1895 - 1983

From 1980s onwards, Critical Path (1981)
Context: I am convinced that human continuance depends entirely upon: the intuitive wisdom of each and every individual... the individual's integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual's own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative... the individual's never joining action with others as motivated only by crowd-engendered-emotionalism, or a sense of the crowd's power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one's own intellectual convictions.

Plautus photo

„He gains wisdom in a happy way, who gains it by another’s experience.“

—  Plautus, Mercator

Mercator, Act IV, scene 7, line 40
Mercator (The Merchant)
Original: (la) Feliciter is sapit, qui alieno periculo sapit.

Marilyn vos Savant photo

„To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.“

—  Marilyn vos Savant US American magazine columnist, author and lecturer 1946

As quoted in Courage: the heart and spirit of every woman : reclaiming the forgotten virtue (2001) by Sandra Ford Walston

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Carl von Clausewitz photo

„There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.“

—  Carl von Clausewitz, book On War

Variant: There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom.
Source: On War (1832), Book 2

Maimónides photo
Ali photo
Hesiod photo
William Cowper photo

„Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.“

—  William Cowper, The Task

Source: The Task (1785), Book VI, Winter Walk at Noon, Line 92.
Context: Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which wisdom builds,
Till smoothed and squared and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
Books are not seldom talismans and spells.

Xenophon photo
Anna Laetitia Barbauld photo

„This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And Wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.“

—  Anna Laetitia Barbauld English author 1743 - 1825

A Summer's Evening Meditation.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

Ali photo

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

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