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Intelligence

  • In our society to admit inferiority is to be a fool, and to admit superiority is to be an outcast. Those who are in reality superior in intelligence can be accepted by their fellows only if they pretend they are not.

  • It is not true that a man's intellectual power is, like the strength of a timber beam, to be measured by its weakest point.

  • ... the nice thing about really intelligent people is that when you talk with them they make you feel intelligent too ...

  • When our children are old enough, and if we can afford to, we send them to college, where ... the point is to acquire the skills not of positive thinking but of critical thinking ...

  • Apparently, an undocumented side effect of dope is a gross overestimation of one's own intelligence. Dopers become convinced they've hidden their stash so well a cop won't find it. They're always wrong.

  • It's a big jump from smart to motherwit.

  • Intelligence in the service of poor instinct is really dangerous.

  • It is one mark of a superior mind to understand and be influenced by the superiority of others.

  • [Of a local politician:] If his IQ slips any lower, we'll have to water him twice a day.

  • People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization.

  • It is not depravity that afflicts the human race so much as a general lack of intelligence.

  • The intelligent man who is proud of that intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.

    • Simone Weil,
    • in Simone Petrément, Simone Weil: A Life ()
  • Had I been in anything inferior to him, he would not have hated me so thoroughly, but I knew all that he knew, and, what was worse, he suspected that I kept the padlock of silence on mental wealth in which he was no sharer.

  • ... nature knows no sex limitations and does not bestow brains upon men alone. Daughters inherit gifts exactly as often and as much as sons.

  • ... sparks electric only strike / On souls electrical alike; / The flash of intellect expires, / Unless it meet congenial fires ...

    • Hannah More,
    • "The Bas Bleu; or Conversation" (1782), The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • title essay, Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law ()
  • ... brains last, beauty doesn't.

  • Intellect doesn't translate across cultures; intuition does.

    • Lucille Clifton,
    • in Christine A. Sikorski, "An Interview With Lucille Clifton," A View From the Loft ()
  • One of the things she liked best about a man was a good manner of speaking. ... she could not abide the thought of a man coming home at the end of the day with his head as empty as his dinner bucket ...

  • How do most people live without any thoughts? There are many people in the world, — you must have noticed them in the street, — how do they live? How do they get strength to put on their clothes in the morning?

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • in Mabel Loomis Todd, ed., The Letters of Emily Dickinson 1845-1886 ()
  • The wind of change, whatever it is, blows most freely through an open mind ...

  • Intelligence always had a pornographic influence on me.

  • I happen to feel that the degree of a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting attitudes she can bring to bear on the same topic.

  • ... he always recognizes two and two when he sees them, but he can't make four of them. And that distresses him, poor fellow.

  • The naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.

  • ... intellect is a sin that must be atoned for by leading exactly the life of those who have none.

  • Intellect does not attain its full force unless it attacks power.

  • Love is light, warmth and comfort. Understanding is just light.

  • Though man a thinking being is defined, / Few use the grand prerogative of mind: / How few think justly of the thinking few! / How many never think, who think they do!

    • Jane Taylor,
    • "Prejudice," The Writings of Jane Taylor, vol. 4 ()
  • Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women.

  • I didn't realize then that there was a world of difference between being stupid and being uneducated.

  • The only useful answer to the question 'Who is smarter, a man or a woman?' is, which man and which woman?

    • Estelle R. Ramey,
    • in Madeline Chinnici, "Do Human Brains Have Gender?" Self ()
  • I believe I was impatient with unintelligent people from the moment I was born: a tragedy — for I am myself three-parts a fool ...

  • I feel a near passion for intelligence at grips with itself and not letting go.

  • The precocious child is the normal child.

  • It would never do for me to lose my wits in the presence of a man who had none too many of his own.

  • Although intelligence tests are usually speed tests for the sake of convenience, it is debatable whether speed has any rightful place in the basic concept of intelligence.

  • I don't do mental battles with unarmed opponents ...

  • We all have our little illusions about our own mental abilities.

  • ... smart is sexy.

  • The grim possibility is that she who 'hides her brains' will, more than likely, end up with a mate who is only equal to a woman with 'hidden brains' or none at all.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • "In Defense of the Equality of Men," in Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women ()
  • His intelligence was like a piece of railroad track severed at either end from the main connection, with a single train car riding back and forth between stations, imitating motion and journey.

  • Looks fade. Brains don't.

  • My parents treated me like I had a brain — which, in turn, caused me to have one.

  • ... the wide discrepancy between reason and feeling may be unreal; it is not improbable that intellect is a high form of feeling — a specialized, intensive feeling about intuitions.

  • ... intelligence gives us a godlike potential to master our environment, but we are limited by the deadly consequences of our not actually being gods.