50 Wise & Profound Quotes on Ignorance and Stupidity

Better be ignorant of a matter than half know it.
Publilius Syrus
(1st century BC, Latin writer of maxims)

Real knowledge is to know
the extent of one’s ignorance.

(551-479 BC, Chinese teacher and philosopher)

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.
(c. 480-406 BC, tragedian of classical Athens)

I am not ashamed to confess
I am ignorant of what I do not know.

(106-43 BC, Roman philosopher and statesman)

Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.
(c. 5th/6th century, Buddhist monk)

Where ignorance is our master,
there is no possibility of real peace.

Dalai Lama
(1357-1419, high lama of Tibetan Buddhism)

Acquaint yourself with your own ignorance.
Isaac Watts
(1674-1748, English theologian and logician)

The more often a stupidity is repeated,
the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.

François-Marie Arouet
(1694-1778, known by his nom de plume Voltaire,
French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher)

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom
is knowledge of our own ignorance.

Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States)

Deceiving a fool
is an exploit worthy of an intelligent man.

Giacomo Girolamo Casanova
(1725-1798, Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice)

Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(1749-1832, German writer, artist and politician)

Nothing is so firmly believed
as that which least is known.

Francis Jeffrey
(1773-1850, Scottish judge and literary critic)

There are many things
of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882, American essayist, lecturer and poet)

Ignorance never settles a question.
Benjamin Disraeli
(1804-1881, British Prime Minister and statesman)

To be conscious that you are ignorant
is a great step to knowledge.

Benjamin Disraeli
(1804-1881, British Prime Minister and statesman)

Stupidity is a talent for misconception.
Edgar Allan Poe
(1809-1849, American author, poet and literary critic)

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence
than does knowledge.

Charles Darwin
(1809-1882, English naturalist)

Mystery is but another name for ignorance;
if we were omniscient,
all would be perfectly plain!

Tryon Edwards
(1809-1894, American theologian)

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

Mark Twain
(1835 – 1910, American author and humorist)

If 50 million people say a foolish thing,
it is still a foolish thing.

Anatole France
(1844-1924, born François-Anatole Thibault,
French poet, journalist, and novelist)

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is:
Be satisfied with your opinions
and content with your knowledge.

Elbert Hubbard
(1856-1915, American writer and philosopher)

Beware of false knowledge;
it is more dangerous than ignorance.

George Bernard Shaw
(1856-1950, Irish playwright)

A fool has more ideas
than a wise man can foresee.

Joseph Conrad
(1857-924, born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski,
Polish author who was granted British nationality in 1886)

Not ignorance,
but ignorance of ignorance,
is the death of knowledge.

Alfred North Whitehead
(1861-1947, English mathematician and philosopher)

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.

Bertrand Russell
(1872-1970, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian and social critic)

The difference between stupidity and genius is
that genius has its limits.

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955, German-born theoretical physicist)

Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing.
Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

Will Durant
(1885-1981, American writer, historian and philosopher)

A brain you can convince,
a simpleton you have to persuade.

Curt Goetz
(1888-1960, born Kurt Walter Götz,
Swiss German writer, actor and film director)

Ignorance is always afraid of change.
Jawaharlal Nehru
(1889-1964, first Prime Minister of India)

The realization of ignorance is the first act of knowing.
Jean Toomer
(1894-1967, American poet and novelist)

Truth will always be truth,
regardless of lack of understanding,
disbelief or ignorance.

W. Clement Stone
(1902-2002, American businessman and philanthropist)

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Robert A. Heinlein
(1907-1988, American science fiction writer)

A man only becomes wise
when he begins to calculate
the approximate depth of his ignorance.

Gian Carlo Menotti
(1911-2007, Italian-American composer and librettist)

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance;
it is the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin
(1914-2004, American historian, professor, attorney and writer)

A great deal of intelligence
can be invested in ignorance
when the need for illusion is deep.

Saul Bellow
(1915-2005, Canadian-born American writer)

If knowledge can create problems,
it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

Isaac Asimov
(1920-1992, Russian-born American science fiction author)

Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.
William Gaddis
(1922-1998, American novelist)

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

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

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Derek Bok
(*1930, American lawyer, former president of Harvard University)

The greatest ignorance is
to reject something you know nothing about.

Derek Bok
(*1930, American lawyer, former president of Harvard University)

There is no limit to stupidity.
Space itself is said to be bounded by its own curvature,
but stupidity continues beyond infinity.

Gene Wolfe
(*1931, American science fiction and fantasy writer)

The highest form of ignorance is
when you reject something
you don’t know anything about.

Wayne Dyer
(*1940, American self-help author and motivational speaker)

Stupid is forever,
ignorance can be fixed.

Don Wood
(*1945, American artist and illustrator)

You can’t argue with stupidity.
Jermaine Jackson
(*1954, American singer, bass guitarist and composer)

Ignorance can be educated.
Crazy can be medicated…
But there is no cure for stupid.

Unknown author

Stupidity should be painful.
Unknown author

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