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Every day I add to the list of things I refuse to discuss. The wiser the man, the longer the list.

[Tous les jours j’accrois la liste des choses dont je ne parle plus. Le plus philosophe est celui dont la liste est la plus longue.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionnée], Part 2 “Characters and Anecdotes [Caractères et Anecdotes],” ch. 7 (1795) [tr. Parmée (2003)]

Quoting someone reacting to a request to expound on "various public and private abuses" he had received.

(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Every day I add to the list of things which I will no longer discuss. The more of a philosopher one is, the longer one's list.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Added on 1-Apr-24 | Last updated 1-Apr-24
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“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

Sig Lines

Attributed to many people, most prominently Eleanor Roosevelt and Hyman Rickover, but the origin appears to be a recollection of a statement by Henry Thomas Buckle: "Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." -- Charles Stewart, Haud Immemor: Reminiscences of Legal and Social Life in Edinburgh and London 1850-1900 (1901). More information here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Nov-14
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