lack of knowledge or understanding
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- Any wise enemy is better than an ignorant friend.
- Traditional Arabic proverb
- Quoted in Carol Bardenstein, Translation and Transformation in Modern Arabic Literature: The Indigenous Assertions of Muḥammad 'Uthmān Jalāl, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005, p. 66.
- Be ignorance thy choice, where knowledge leads to woe.
- James Beattie, The Minstrel (1771), Book II, Stanza 30.
- A large segment of the American public is sadly deficient in its knowledge of basic business and economic facts of life. The media, which many people say are their primary sources of their business and economic info, do not appear to be making any significant impact on this ignorance.
- Frank Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation in 1984 (source: No Comment!. p. 59. ISBN 0275928209. ).
- For "ignorance is the mother of devotion," as all the world knows.
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section IV. Memb. 1. Subsect. 2. Phrase used by Dr. Cole, Disputation with the Papists at Westminster, March 31, 1559. Quoted from Cole by Bishop Jewel, Works, Volume III, Part II, p. 1202. Quoted as a "Popish maxim" by Thomas Vincent, Explicatory Catechism, Epistle to the Reader (c. 1622). Said by Jeremy Taylor, To a person newly converted to the Church of England (1657). Same found in New Custome. I. I. A Morality printed 1573. (True devotion).
- The truest characters of ignorance
Are vanity, and pride, and annoyance.
- Samuel Butler, Hudibras (1663-1664).
- A truly refined mind will seem to be ignorant of the existence of anything that is not perfectly proper, placid, and pleasant.
- Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Ch. 5 - Something Wrong Somewhere (1855-1857).
- To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
- Mr. Kremlin himself was distinguished for ignorance, for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.
- Ignorance never settles a question.
- Benjamin Disraeli, speech, House of Commons (May 14, 1866).
- Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Ch. XIII (1876).
- Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.
- Euripides, Antiope, Frag. 204.
- Ignorance is the dominion of absurdity.
- James Anthony Froude, Short Studies on Great Subjects (1867–82), Party Politics.
- Es ist nichts schrecklicher als eine tätige Unwissenheit.
- Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frederick Ungar, ed., Goethe's World View Presented in His Reflections and Maxims (1963), p. 58–59.
- There are, however, some potentates I would kill by any and all means at my disposal. They are Ignorance, Superstition, and Bigotry — the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.
- Emma Goldman, responding to audience questions during a speech in Detroit (1898); as recounted in Living My Life (1931), p. 207; quoted by Annie Laurie Gaylor in Women Without Superstition, p. 382.
- And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770), line 61.
- To each his suff’rings; all are men,
Condemn’d alike to groan,—
The tender for another’s pain,
Th’ unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
’T is folly to be wise.
- The Socratic maxim that the recognition of our ignorance is the beginning of wisdom has profound significance for our understanding of society. The first requisite for this is that we become aware of men’s necessary ignorance of much that helps him to achieve his aims.
- Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960), Chap. 2 : The Creative Powers of a Free Civilization
- Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-1785), Query 6.
- If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
- Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams (August 1, 1816).
- Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.
- Jesus Luke 23:34
- Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance.
- Samuel Johnson, in reply to the lady who asked why "pastern" was defined in the dictionary as "the knee of the horse". Boswell's Life of Johnson, (1755).
- He that voluntarily continues ignorant is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces.
- Samuel Johnson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 336.
- So long as the mother, Ignorance, lives, it is not safe for Science, the offspring, to divulge the hidden causes of things.
- Softmindedness often invades religion. … Softminded persons have revised the Beautitudes to read "Blessed are the pure in ignorance: for they shall see God." This has led to a widespread belief that there is a conflict between science and religion. But this is not true. There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists, but not between science and religion. … Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., in Strength to Love (1963), Ch. 1 : A tough mind and a tender heart
- Ignorance is a kind of insanity in the human animal. People who delight in torturing defenseless children or tiny creatures are in reality insane. The terrible thing is that people who are madmen in private may wear a totally bland and innocent expression in public.
- Ignorance plays the chief part among men, and the multitude of words; but opportunity will prevail.
- Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, "Cleobulus", iv.
- He said that there was one only good, namely, knowledge; and one only evil, namely, ignorance.
- Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, "Socrates", xiv
- Variant: The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.
- He declared that he knew nothing, except the fact of his ignorance.
- Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, "Socrates", xvi.
- Bring your ignorance to the Holy Spirit, the great teacher, who by His precious truth will lead you into all truth.
- William Paton Mackay, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 337.
- There are three degrees of comparison: stupido, stupidissimo, and tenore.
- Pietro Mascagni, in Scott Beach, Musicdotes, (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1977), p. 94.
- To be ignorant of one's own ignorance is to be in an unprogressive, uninspired state of existence.
- David O. McKay, Pathways To Happiness, (1957), pp. 351-352.
- It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.
- Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill
- Are you of the stiff, the dry,
Cursing the not understood;
- Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng.
- The living man who does not learn, is dark, dark, like one walking in the night.
- Ming-hsin pao-chien ("Precious Mirror for Enlightening the Heart") (compiled c. 1393 by Fan Li-pen). Translation for Chinese Repository by Dr. William Milne.
- All wisdom is folly that does not accommodate itself to the common ignorance.
- Not to know is bad; not to strive to know is worse.
- Andre Norton, Dragon Magic (1972), Chapter 3
- People who don't know any better will always be in the dark because the power lies in the hands of men who take good care that ordinary folk don't understand, in the hands, that is, of the government, of the clerical party, of the capitalists.
- Cesare Pavese, The moon and the bonfire, chapter XXVI, p. 149.
- From ignorance our comfort flows.
The only wretched are the wise.
- Matthew Prior, To the Hon. Charles Montague (1692).
- We live in a golden age of ignorance, and Trump and Brexit are part of that.
- Scientia non habet inimicum nisi ignorantem
- Knowledge has no enemy except an ignorant man
- George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (1589), excerpted and translated in Wayne A. Rebhorn, ed., Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric.
- Ignorance is death. A closed mind is a catafalque.
- Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998), p. 69.
- If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face.
- Zack de la Rocha, "Settle for Nothing", Rage Against the Machine (album), 1992.
- The words of Lord Buddha that "ignorance is the greatest crime because it brings all miseries to humanity" should be, by now, assimilated by the consciousness of people. Until the leaders of the countries possess brilliant intellects and especially a spiritual synthesis, which helps to embrace all the planes of existence, there will be no real progress.
- Helena Roerich, Letters of Helena Roerich I, (21 October 1931)
- Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects.
- Will Rogers, Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book (1972), p. 119. The author was a niece of Will Rogers, and curator of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.
- Ignorance cannot lead to evil, misconceptions lead to evil. It is not what people do know, it’s what they pretend they do.
- Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
- Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945), Book Three, Part II, Chapter XXI: Currents of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, p. 722.
- So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
- John Godfrey Saxe, "The Blind Men and the Elephant," moral, The Poetical Works of John Godfrey Saxe (1887), p. 112. While Saxe said this was a Hindu fable, the story may be found in The Udna, or The Solemn Utterances of the Buddha, chapter 6, section 4, trans. Dawsonne M. Strong, p. 93–96 (1902).
- It is my own peculiarity that I cannot bear ignorance, nor the ignorance of ignoramuses, and even less the ignorance of the informed. Therefore, I decided long ago to converse with the reader on this matter, and to construct before his very eyes—and in his face, if necessary—a different, new reader, one constructed according to my own ideas.
- Friedrich Schlegel, “On Incomprehensibility” (1800), J. Schulte-Sasse, trans., Theory as Practice (1997), p. 146.
- Ignorance is degrading only when found in company with riches. The poor man is restrained by poverty and need: labour occupies his thoughts, and takes the place of knowledge. But rich men who are ignorant live for their lusts only, and are like the beasts of the field, as may be seen every day; and they can also be reproached for not having used wealth and leisure for that which gives them their greatest value.
- Schopenhauer, “On books and reading,” Religion: a dialogue, and other essays, T.B. Saunders, trans. (1910).
- O thou monster, Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
- The common curse of mankind,—folly and ignorance.
- "Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!"
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Ch. 23 (1818).
- Madam, thou errest: I say, there is no darkness, but ignorance; in which thou art more puzzled, than the Egyptians in their fog.
- If one neglects the laws of learning, a sentence is imposed that he is forever chained to his ignorance.
- Sterling W. Sill, The Power of Believing, (1968), p. 29.
- Ignorant men
Don't know what good they hold in their hands until
They've flung it away.
- Sophocles, "Ajax", trans. John Moore, in David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, eds., The Complete Greek Tragedies (1959), vol. 2, p. 250. There have been numerous translations of this play by Sophocles, with varying translations of these words, spoken by the character Tecmessa. The translation by George Young, The Dramas of Sophocles, p. 102 (1888) reads, "Men of perverse opinion do not know / The excellence of what is in their hands,/ Till some one dash it from them".
- Ignorantia non est argumentum.
- Translation: Ignorance is no argument.
- Baruch Spinoza, Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata et in quinque parses distincta, Part 1, Addendum; Amsterdam, 1677.
- Originally used to oppose traditional theological views that everything exists and is determined by divine intervention because no other plausible reason or explanation is seen.
- There's nothing as safe as ignorance — or as dangerous.
- Ignorance is the mother of devotion.
- Jeremy Taylor, To a Person Newly Converted (1657).
- Blind and naked Ignorance
Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed,
On all things all day long.
- We struggle onward, ignorant and blind,
- For a result unknown and undesign’d;
- Avoiding seeming ills, misunderstood,
- Embracing evil as a seeming good.
- How can he remember well his ignorance—which his growth requires—who has so often to use his knowledge?
- Ignorance served no useful purpose; it changed no fact, it offered no shelter.
- Michelle West, Echoes in Assassin Fantastic (ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Alexander Potter, 2001), p. 267
- I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act I, spoken by Lady Bracknell (1895).
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 385-86.
- Causarum ignoratio in re nova mirationem facit.
- In extraordinary events ignorance of their causes produces astonishment.
- Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 22.
- Ignoratione rerum bonarum et malarum maxime hominum vita vexatur.
- Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed.
- Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, I. 13.
- Non me pudet fateri nescire quod nesciam.
- I am not ashamed to confess that I am ignorant of what I do not know.
- Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. I. 25. 60.
- Ignorance seldom vaults into knowledge, but passes into it through an intermediate state of obscurity, even as night into day through twilight.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Essay XVI.
- Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Book II, Chapter XIII.
- Often the cock-loft is empty, in those whom nature hath built many stories high.
- Thomas Fuller, Andronicus, Section VI. Par. 18. 1.
- Es ist nichts schrecklicher als eine thätige Unwissenheit.
- There is nothing more frightful than an active ignorance.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sprüche in Prosa, III.
- Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book XI, line 153. Pope's translation.
- It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm further off from heaven
Than when I was a boy.
- Thomas Hood, I Remember, I Remember.
- Rien n'est si dangereux qu'un ignorant ami:
Mieux vaudrait un sage ennemi.
- Nothing is so dangerous as an ignorant friend; a wise enemy is worth more.
- Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, VIII. 10.
- A man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty.
- John Locke, Human Understanding, Book I, Chapter II.
- The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
- But let a man know that there are things to be known, of which he is ignorant, and it is so much carved out of his domain of universal knowledge.
- Horace Mann, Lectures on Education, Lecture VI.
- Quod latet ignotum est; ignoti nulla cupido.
- What is hid is unknown: for what is unknown there is no desire.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 397.
- It is better to be unborn than untaught: for ignorance is the root of misfortune.
- Etiam illud quod scies nesciveris;
Ne videris quod videris.
- Know not what you know, and see not what you see.
- Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, II. 6. 89.
- Illi mors gravis incubat qui notus nimis omnibus ignotus moritur sibi.
- Death presses heavily on that man, who, being but too well known to others, dies in ignorance of himself.
- Seneca the Younger, Thyestes, CCCCI.
- The more we study, we the more discover our ignorance.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Scenes from the Magico Prodigioso of Calderon, scene 1.
- Omne ignotum pro magnifico est.
- Homine imperito nunquam quidquid injustius,
Qui nisi quod ipse facit nihil rectum putat.
- Nothing can be more unjust than the ignorant man, who thinks that nothing is well done by himself.
- Terence, Adelphi, I. 2. 18.
- Ita me dii ament, ast ubi sim nescio.
- As God loves me, I know not where I am.
- Terence, Heauton timoroumenos, II. 3. 67.
- Namque inscitia est,
Adversum stimulum calces.
- It is consummate ignorance to kick against the pricks.
- Terence, Phormio, I. 2. 27.