On Foolishness

‘True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.’
— Akhenaton

‘If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.’
— William Blake

‘Impossibility: a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.’
— Napoleon Boneparte

‘There is no adequate defence, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea.’
— P. W. Bridgman

‘The difference between genius and stupidity is that even genius has its limits.’
— Rita Mae Brown

‘Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.’
— Charles Bukowski

‘Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain–and most fools do.’
— Dale Carnegie

‘Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.’
— Marcus Tullius Cicero

‘It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change.’
— Confucius

‘Inventors and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools at the beginning—and very often at the end—of their careers.’
— Fyodor Dostoevsky

‘Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity—and I’m not certain about the universe.’
— Albert Einstein

‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.’
— Albert Einstein

‘The two most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.’
— Harlan Elison

‘The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.’
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘The foolish man wonders at the unusual; the wise man at the usual.’
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘To the fool, he who speaks wisdom will sound foolish.’
— Euripedes

‘The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of the wise man is in his heart.’
— Benjamin Franklin

‘A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation.’
— Max Gluckman

‘Only stupid questions create wealth.’
— Gary Hamel

‘Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.’
— Robert Heinlein

‘Mingle some brief folly with your wisdom.’
— Horace

‘Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.’
— Elbert Hubbard

‘Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.’
— Edwin Land

‘He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.’
— Groucho Marx

‘An erudite fool is a greater fool than an ignorant fool.’
— Jean Paul Baptiste Moliére

‘Every day I hear stupid people say things that are not stupid.’
— Michel de Montaigne

‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’
— Alexander Pope

‘Any damn fool can be spontaneous.’
— Ezra Pound

‘Some people are confident because they are fools. Leonard had the look of someone who was confident because, so far, he’d never found a reason not to be.’
— Terry Pratchett

‘Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish.’
— Quintilian

‘As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.’
— François de la Rochefoucauld

‘The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.’
— Bertrand Russell

‘It takes a wonderful brain and exquisite senses to produce a few stupid ideas.’
— George Santayana

‘Like a ten-speed bike, most of us have gears we do not use.’
— Charles Schultz

‘An intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius––and a lot of courage––to move in the opposite direction.’
— E. F. Schumacher

‘The fool doth think himself wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’
— William Shakespeare

‘It is a fool’s prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.’
— William Shakespeare

‘There are no foolish questions, and no man has become a fool until he stops asking questions.’
— Charles P. Steinmetz

‘Some people take more care to hide their wisdom than their folly.’
— Jonathan Swift

‘Any fool will make a rule, and any fool will mind it.’
— Henry David Thoreau

‘Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.’
— Mark Twain

‘The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.’
— Paul Valéry

‘Fools act on imagination without knowledge. Pedants act on knowledge without imagination.’
— William Arthur Ward

‘One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.’
— James D. Watson

‘Almost all really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.’
— Alfred North Whitehead