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Knowledge

  • ... there is only one thing we do know and that is that we do not know anything.

  • I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine, inquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and the against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in in you.

  • We develop all our sciences, archeology, cosmology, psychology, we tabulate and classify and cling to our sacred definitions, our divisions, without any attempt to synthesis, without the humility to see that these are only parts of a total knowledge. ... But somehow we ought to be able to keep the idea of the totality of experience and knowledge at the back of our minds even though the front's busy from morning til night with the life cycle of the liver fluke.

  • He did not arrive at this conclusion by the decent process of quiet, logical deduction, nor yet by the blinding flash of glorious intuition, but by the shoddy, untidy process halfway between the two by which one usually gets to know things.

  • Learning and literature have a way of outlasting the civilization that made them.

  • To appear to be on the inside and know more than others about what is going on is a great temptation for most people. It is a rare person who is willing to seem to know less than he does ... Somehow, people seem to feel that it is belittling to their importance not to know more than other people.

  • The conviction that everything that happens on earth must be comprehensible to man can lead to interpreting history by commonplaces.

  • True knowledge consists in knowing things, not words.

  • Nobody knows enough, but many too much.

  • Erudition, like a bloodhound, is a charming thing when held firmly in leash, but it is not so attractive when turned loose upon a defenseless and unerudite public.

  • The necessity of knowing a little about a great many things is the most grievous burden of our day. It deprives us of leisure on the one hand, and of scholarship on the other.

  • Nowadays a man can belong to so-called cultured circles without, on the one hand, having any sort of conception about human destiny or, on the other hand, being aware, for example, that all the constellations are not visible at all seasons of the year.

  • ... pain is the root of knowledge.

  • Knowledge is much like dust — it sticks to one, one does not know how.

  • You can have no idea, if you have not tried, how difficult it is to find out anything whatever from an encyclopedia, unless you know all about it already ...

  • There are only a few bits of absolute knowledge in the world, people can learn only one or two fundamental facts about each other, the rest is decoration and prejudice.

  • ... when knowledge comes in at the door, fear and superstition fly out of the window.

  • Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • to her sister, Mrs. Shaw (1791), Letters of Mrs. Adams ()
  • Do you know because I tell you so, or do you know, do you know.

    • Gertrude Stein,
    • "The Mother of Us All," in Carl Van Vechten, ed., Last Operas and Plays ()
  • ... we didn't know it at the time. Prouty said afterwards he did, but Prouty's a man who knows everything after the fact. That's being an undertaker I dare say.

  • If it true that perception is reality, then what is shown on TV is that part of the collective consciousness known as Public Knowledge, that is, the fragment of reality which the mass of people acknowledge to be true.

  • ... a time has come in our history when what is known has little connection with what is done.

  • Because we name, we name ourselves, and we can think of ourselves as separate creatures, apart from nature. We can, therefore, using our vision and our power to create language, develop science and art. But in this process of naming, of being able to take apart nature, to study it, to communicate about it, in the very process that becomes our glory lies an insoluble paradox. And that is this: nature is intricately and infinitely connected. The minute I name something and begin to regard it as a separate entity, I break this unbreakable unity. So that which makes it possible for us to seek truths about the universe and about ourselves has within itself the guarantee that we will never be able to find the Truth. Our knowledge must be forever fragmented, because that is the nature of systematic knowledge.

  • They that know nothing fear nothing.

  • ... the common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of access because of the economic position of him who would approach it ...

  • It is not only by the questions we have answered that progress may be measured, but also by those we are still asking. The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find.

  • Knowledge is the prime need of the hour.

  • More than likely, we will never achieve the satisfaction of knowing a single 'why' of our becoming, any more than our limited, earthbound brain could ever meaningfully grasp a clear purpose behind the vastness of the universe. Any answer would necessarily include understanding the why of the why, and that would be a little like looking into one's own eyes.

  • ... that's joy, it's always / a recognition, the known / appearing fully itself, and / more itself than one knew.

  • ... many things I knew, I have forgotten; many things I thought I knew, I find I know nothing about; some things I know, I have found not worth knowing; and some things I would give — O what would one not give to know? are beyond the reach of human ken.

  • That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they've been all along.

  • It is important to use all knowledge ethically, humanely, and lovingly.

  • ... if knowledge is power, clandestine knowledge is power squared; it can be withheld, exchanged, and leveraged.

  • It is never wise to turn aside from knowing, however the knowing comes.

  • Those who would know much, and love little, will ever remain at but the beginning of a godly life.

  • Knowledge is power only as long as you keep your mouth shut.

  • He that knew all that ever Learning writ, / Knew only this — that he knew nothing yet.

  • Just because you don't know everything don't mean you know nothing.

  • It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.

  • Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock.

  • We are never so certain of our knowledge as when we're dead wrong.

    • Adair Lara,
    • "A Lot of Knowledge Is Dangerous Too," in San Francisco Chronicle ()
  • The pursuit of knowledge is an intoxicant, a lure that scientists and explorers have known from ancient times; indeed, exhilaration in the pursuit of knowledge is part of what has kept our species so adaptive.

  • Knowledge — I cannot too strongly impress it upon you — always imposes responsibility.

  • We all know more than we think we know.

  • ... in much knowledge there is also much grief.

  • Once you know some things, you can't unknow them. It's a burden that can never be given away.

  • Let no Body be afrighted, because so many things are to be learnt, when the learning of them will be so pleasant; how profitable I need not tell you.

    • Bathsua Makin,
    • An Essay to Revive the Antient [sic] Education of Gentlewomen
    • ()
  • Now peculiar scraps of knowledge were stuck to him like lint from all his jobs.

  • The fruits of the tree of knowledge are various; he must be strong indeed who can digest all of them.

  • Only people who die very young learn all they really need to know in kindergarten.

  • Real progress in understanding nature is rarely incremental. All important advances are sudden intuitions, new principles, new ways of seeing. We have not fully recognized this process of leaping ahead, however, in part because textbooks tend to tame revolutions, whether cultural or scientific. They describe the advances as if they had been logical in their day, not at all shocking.

  • We live what we know. If we believe the universe and ourselves to be mechanical, we will live mechanically. On the other hand, if we know that we are part of an open universe, and that our minds are a matrix of reality, we will live more creatively and powerfully.

  • ... cut off from the intuitive knowledge of ontological reason, technical knowledge is directionless and ultimately meaningless. When it dominates, life is deprived of an experience of depth, and it tends toward despair.

  • In all ages, through all the varied experience of individuals and nations, knowledge has been the power which has civilized, elevated and dignified humanity. In those countries where progress has been most rapid, the thirst for knowledge has been most intense.

    • Sarah M. Grimké,
    • "The Education of Women" (c. 1852), in Elizabeth Ann Bartlett, ed., Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Other Essays ()
  • Imparting knowledge is only lighting other men's candles at our lamp, without depriving ourselves of any flame.

    • Jane Porter,
    • in Philip Sidney and Jane Porter, Aphorisms of Sir Philip Sidney, With Remarks by Miss Porter ()
  • The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us ...

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1854), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • ... we have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more are we capable of seeing.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1878), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • They never said 'I don’t know.' They said, instead, 'I'm not sure,' which did not give any information but still suggested the possibility of knowledge.

  • You who want / knowledge, / seek the Oneness / within / There you / will find / the clear mirror / already waiting.

    • Hadewijch II,
    • 13th cent., in Jane Hirshfield, ed., Women in Praise of the Sacred ()
  • No one could ever be capable of solving the final mysteries. And without that, knowledge was merely an interesting escape.

  • I am never afraid of what I know.

  • ... love of learning is the most necessary passion ... in it lies our happiness. It's a sure remedy for what ails us, an unending source of pleasure.

  • I have always suspected that too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is a boon to people who don't have deep feelings; their pleasure comes from what they know about things, and their pride, from showing off what they know.

  • ... knowledge is a process, not a product ...

    • Ruth Nanda Anshen,
    • in Martin Buber, A Believing Humanism: My Testament 1902-1965 ()
  • If we would have new knowledge, we must get us a whole world of new questions.

  • Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.

  • You remember only what you want to remember. You know only what your heart allows you to know.

  • Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge — broad, deep knowledge — is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low.

  • The mind knows only what lies near the heart.