Quotations about   self-correction

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Failings of the intelligence are incorrigible since those who do not know do not know themselves and cannot therefore seek what they lack.

[Achaques de necedad son irremediables, que como los ignorantes no se conocen, tampoco buscan lo que les falta.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 176 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Because the ignorant do not know themselves, they never look for what they are lacking.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

Added on 10-May-22 | Last updated 10-May-22
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We should only endeavor to think and speak correctly ourselves, without wishing to bring others over to our taste and opinions; this would be too great an undertaking.

[Il faut chercher seulement à penser et à parler juste, sans vouloir amener les autres à notre goût et à nos sentiments; c’est une trop grande entreprise.]

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
Les Caractères, ch. 1 “Of Works of the Mind [Des ouvrages de l’esprit],” #2 (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]

(Source (French))
Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
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It is only an error of judgment to make a mistake, but it argues an infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, Vol. 2 (1862)
Added on 23-Jul-21 | Last updated 23-Jul-21
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It is better to correct your own faults than those of another.

[Κρέσσον τὰ οἰκήϊα ἐλέγχειν ἁμαρτήματα ἢ τὰ ὀθνεῖα.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 60 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]

Original Greek. Diels cites this as "Fragment 60, (114 N.) DEMOKRATES. 25"; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium III, 13, 46. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "It is better to examine one's own faults than those of others." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "It is better to examine your own mistakes than those of others." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "It is better to rebuke familiar faults than foreign ones." [tr. @sententiq (2018)]
  • "Rather examine your own faults than those of others." [Source]
Added on 2-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Turkish proverb
Added on 20-Jul-17 | Last updated 20-Jul-17
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All things […] are best to those who know no better.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar

Full passage:
The less Judgment any Man ha's the Better he is perswaded of his owne abilities, because he is not capable of understanding anything beyond it, and all things how mean so ever, are best to those who know no better: for beside the naturall affection that he has for himself, which go's very farre, the less he is able to improve and mend his Judgment, the higher value he sets upon it, and can no more correct his own false opinions, when he is at his height, than outgrow his own Stature.
Added on 10-Dec-12 | Last updated 29-Jan-21
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