Quotations about:
    wisdom


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The great calamity of the passions is not the torments they cause but the wrongs, the base actions that they lead one to commit, and which degrade men. Without these hindrances the advantages of the passions would far outweigh those of cold reason, which renders no one happy. The passions make a man live, wisdom merely makes him last.

[Le grand malheur des passions n’est pas dans les tourmens qu’elles causent, mais dans les fautes, dans les turpitudes qu’elles font commettre, et qui dégradent l’homme. Sans ces inconvéniens, elles auraient trop d’avantage sur la froide raison, qui ne rend point heureux. Les passions font vivre l’homme, la sagesse le fait seulement durer.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 2, ¶ 118 (1795) [tr. Merwin (1969)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The great evil of the passions does not lie in the torments which they bring upon men, but in the faults and shameful actions they cause him to commit. Were it not for this drawback they would have too great an advantage over cold reason, which can never be productive of happiness. His passions make man live, his wisdom only makes him last.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

The unfortunate thing about passions is not the misery they make one commit, and which degrade man. Without these disadvantages, they would overpower cold reason, which does not in the least a source of happiness. Passions make men live, wisdom only makes the endure.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

The great disaster of passions is not the torment they cause, but the debasing errors and depravity into which they lead men. Without these drawbacks, passion would enjoy many advantages over cold reason, which never produces happiness. Passions enable men to live, wisdom merely enables them to survive.
[tr. Dusinberre (1992)]

The great misfortune of passions does not come from the torments that they cause, but from the base things they make a person do, and which degrade him. Without these inconveniences, they would have too many advantages over cold reason, which never makes people happy. Passions make a man live, wisdom and facts only make him endure.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]

 
Added on 15-Jan-24 | Last updated 15-Jan-24
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I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“Another Year,” blog entry (2008-12-31)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Dec-23 | Last updated 28-Dec-23
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A wise man neither lets himself be governed nor seeks to govern others: he wishes reason alone to govern, and for ever.

[Un homme sage ni ne se laisse gouverner, ni ne cherche à gouverner les autres: il veut que la raison gouverne seule et toujours.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 4 “Of the Heart [Du Coeur],” § 71 (4.71) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

A Wise Man neither suffers himself to be govern'd, nor attempts to govern others. 'Tis his reason alone which always governs him.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

A Wise Man neither suffers himself to be govern'd, nor attempts to govern others. He wou'd have Reason alone always to govern him.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

An intelligent man neither allows himself to be controlled nor attempts to control others; he wishes reason alone to rule, and that always.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
Added on 27-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
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Education makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing. Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking and study.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (1775-10-29)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Dec-23 | Last updated 26-Dec-23
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It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to exercise either of them.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 20, Epigraph (1897)
    (Source)

Cited as from Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar. Sometimes misquoted "... never to practice either."
 
Added on 13-Dec-23 | Last updated 13-Dec-23
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What wouldest thou have me follow? what my enemies think prudent, or what I myself think to be so?

[Que veux-tu que je suive, la prudence de mes ennemis, ou la mienne?]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 8, Usbek to Rustan (1721) [tr. Floyd (1762)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

What wouldst thou have me pursue; the Prudence of my Enemies, or my own?
[tr. Ozell (1736)]

Which would you have me obey -- the petty maxims that guide my enemies, or the dictates of my own free soul?
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

Which would you have me accept as a guide, -- the foresight of my enemies or my own?
[tr.https://archive.org/details/persianletters00degoog/page/n52/mode/2up?q=%22accept+as+a+guide%22 Betts (1897)]

Would you have me follow my own counsel or that of my enemies?
[tr. Healy (1964)]

Ought I to heed my enemies' prudent counsels or my own?
[tr. Mauldon (2008)]

Which would you have me follow, Rustan, my own counsel, or that of my enemies?
[tr. MacKenzie (2014)]

 
Added on 11-Dec-23 | Last updated 11-Dec-23
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Thou art an heyre to fayre lyving, that is nothing, if thou be disherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherite righteousnesse then riches, and far more seemely were it for thee to have thy Studie full of bookes, then thy pursse full of mony: to get goods is the benefit of Fortune, to keepe them the gift of Wisedome.
 
[Thou art an heir to fair living; that is nothing if thou be disinherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherit righteousness than riches and far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books than thy purse full of money. To get goods is the benefit of fortune, to keep them the gift of wisdom. (1916 ed.)]

John Lyly (c. 1553-1606) was an English writer [also Lilly or Lylie]
Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, “Letter to Alcius” (1579)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Nov-23 | Last updated 25-Nov-23
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It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.

[C’est la certitude qu’ils tiennent la vérité qui rend les hommes cruels.]

Anatole France (1844-1924) French poet, journalist, novelist, Nobel Laureate [pseud. of Jaques-Anatole-François Thibault]
(Misquotation)

Widely attributed (in French and English) to Anatole France, but not found in his works, including the one location it is sometimes cited from, Les Dieux Ont Soif [The Gods Are Thirsty, The Gods Are Athirst, The Gods Will Have Blood] (1912), in either English translation or, more importantly, in the original French.

While thematically keeping in the novel's depiction of the French Revolution and the Terror, the closest match to the quote I can find is this portion of ch. 22, talking about the expediting of the trials of those charged with counter-revolutionary crimes, eliminating the need to prove a misdeed by simply inquiring as to the accused's beliefs.

Justice thus abbreviated satisfied them; the pace was quickened, and no obstacles were left to fret them. They limited themselves to an inquiry into the opinions of the accused, not conceiving it possible that anyone could think differently from themselves except in pure perversity. Believing themselves the exclusive possessors of truth, wisdom, the quintessence of good, they attributed to their opponents noting but error and evil. They felt themselves all-powerful; they envisaged God.
[tr. Allinson (1913), Jackson (1921)]

Justice, thus curtailed, satisfied them; the pace was quickened and no obstacles were left to confuse them. They confined themselves to inquiring into the opinions of the accused, not conceiving it possible that anyone, except from pure perversity, could think differently from themselves. Believing themselves to possess a monopoly of truth, wisdom and goodness, they attributed to their opponents all error, stupidity and evil. They felt themselves omnipotent: their eyes had seen God.
[tr. Davies (1979)]

La justice abrégée les contentait. Rien, dans sa marche accélérée, ne les troublait plus. Ils s’enquéraient seulement des opinions des accusés, ne concevant pas qu’on pût sans méchanceté penser autrement qu’eux. Comme ils croyaient posséder la vérité, la sagesse, le souverain bien, ils attribuaient à leurs adversaires l’erreur et le mal. Ils se sentaient forts : ils voyaient Dieu.
[Original]

 
Added on 9-Nov-23 | Last updated 9-Nov-23
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Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Prometheus,” st. 3, ll. 35-38 (1816)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Nov-23 | Last updated 9-Nov-23
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When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
(Spurious)

Popularly attributed to Lewis, but no citation is ever given, and it is not found in searches of his written works.
 
Added on 6-Nov-23 | Last updated 6-Nov-23
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Tell us, where slopes the cliff, to make a way
That man may climb? For they who know its worth
Fret most when time is wasted in delay.

[Ditene dove la montagna giace,
sì che possibil sia l’andare in suso;
ché perder tempo a chi più sa più spiace.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 3, l. 76ff (3.76-78) (1314) [tr. Sayers (1955)]
    (Source)

Virgil inquiring of the "Contumacious" (the rebellious and excommunicates who only sought the forgiveness of God at the end of their lives) the best route to climb the Mountain of Purgatory. He actually gets in a dig at them, as they are themselves delayed ascending the Mountain because of their delayed turn to Salvation.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Shew, where with easier slope these mountains bend,
The MENTAL PROGRESS ill can bear a stand.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 15]

Instruct us where the mountain low declines,
So that attempt to mount it be not vain.
For who knows most, him loss of time most grieves.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Tell us in what direction mountain lies --
If it be possible to climb its side?
Lost time the wisest find it worst to bide.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Tell us upon what side the mountain slopes,
So that the going up be possible,
For to lose time irks him most who most knows.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Tell us where the mountain falls, so that it is possible to go upward; for loss of time displeases most who most knows.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Tell us where easiest slopes the precipice.
So that we there our upward path may hold:
Him who knows most time lost doth most displease.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Tell us, where the mountain lies so that the going up is possible; for to lose time is most displeasing to him who knows most.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes, so that it may be possible to go upward; for time lost irks him who knowest most.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes so that it is possible to go up; for loss of time most grieves him that knows best.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Tell us where slopes the mountain by degrees
Such, that it may be possible to ascend;
For him who knows most lost hours most displease.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Tell us which way
leads to some slope by which we two may climb.
Who best knows time is most grieved by delay.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes so that it is possible to go up, for time lost irks him most who knows most.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes enough
for us to start our climb: the more one learns,
the more one comes to hate the waste of time.
[tr. Musa (1981)]

Tell us where the mountain-side slopes so
That it is possible to go up higher;
For those who know most, dislike most to dawdle.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Please tell
us where the slope inclines and can be climbed;
for he who best discerns the worth of time
is most distressed whenever time is lost.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes so that it is possible to climb it; for losing time displeases most those who know most.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

Tell us where the mountain slopes allow us to go upwards, since lost time troubles those most, who know most.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Please tell us where the mountain angles down
to make it possible for us to climb.
For those who know the most, most hate time lost.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

Tell us where the mountain rises gently
so that we may begin the long ascent.
The more we know, the more we hate time's waste.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Tell us where they bend, these mountain slopes,
So feet may find their way. A man of knowledge
Regrets the loss of time far more than most.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 8-Oct-23 | Last updated 8-Oct-23
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The wise man preserves a smooth-tempered self-control.

[πρὸς σοφοῦ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς ἀσκεῖν σώφρον᾽ εὐοργησίαν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 641ff [Dionysus/Διόνυσος] (405 BC) [tr. Vellacott (1973)]
    (Source)

An ironic statement from Dionysus, of how he will keep his calm and temper in the face of Pentheus' disrespectful fury. In very short order, Dionysus is (calmly) setting up Pentheus' self-destruction through the Bacchantes' frenzy.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For it behoves the wise
To curb the sallies of outrageous ire.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

For it is the part of a wise man to practice restrained good temper.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

’Tis easy to a wise man To practise self-command.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

For a wise man ever knoweth how to keep his passion down.
[tr. Rogers (1872)]

For ’tis a wise man’s way to school his temper into due control.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

For it is the wise man's part to rein his wrath in soberness.
[tr. Way (1898)]

For still are the ways of Wisdom, and her temper trembleth not!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

Wise men know constraint: our passions are controlled.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

For it is the quality of a wise man to exercise restrained good temper.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

The secret of life is
Balance, tolerance.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

A wise man should practice pure thought and good temper.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

A wise man knows restraint. His strength is his detachment.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

For the wise know gentleness is wisdom.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

For it is the part of a wise man to employ a controlled and gentle temper.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

A wise man trains his temper to be good and calm.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Because a man
Who is wise has self-control and gentleness of temper.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

It is a wise man's part to practice gentleness and self-control.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

He who would be wise will keep his self-control.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

That is how wise people work, calmly.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

A wise man is able to hold his good-nature well tempered.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

After all, a wise man ought to keep his temper.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

He should learn from me the ways of self-control.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

Keep calm and carry on, as the wisest say.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

The wise man has a reasonable temper.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

A sophos man must practice good temper that is moderate [sōphrōn].
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 8-Aug-23 | Last updated 8-Aug-23
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More undertakings fail for want of spirit than for want of sense. Confidence gives a fool the advantage over a wise man.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Manner,” The Round Table (1817)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Jul-23 | Last updated 31-Jul-23
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You write two hundred lines a day, but don’t recite.
Varus, you are wise, if none too bright.

[Cum facias versus nulla non luce ducenos,
Vare, nihil recitas. Non sapis, atque sapis.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 8, epigram 20 (8.20) (AD 94) [tr. McLean (2014)]
    (Source)

"To Varus." See also 2.88.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Each day you make two hundred verses, sott,
But none recite: you're wise, and you are nott.
[16th C Manuscript]

You make two hundred verses in a trice;
But publish none: -- The man is mad and wise.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

You countless verses pen, each morn you rise;
Yet none recite: how witty, and how wise!
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, ep. 8]

Though you write two hundred verses every day, Varus, you recite nothing in public. You are unwise, and yet you are wise.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Varus writes facile verse and keeps it mum.
He's weakly garrulous, and wisely dumb.
[tr. Street (1907)]

Every day Varus writes
Scores of verses, I've heard:
But he never recites.
He's both wise and absurd.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "The Wisest Fool"]

Although no day passes but you compose two hundred verses, Varus, you recite none of them. You have no wit -- and yet are wise.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You write a hundred lines a day?
That means a crazy brain.
And yet you publish none, you say;
That shows that you are sane.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Wise Fool"]

Varus, two hundred lines each day that flies
You write and burn. How foolish -- and how wise!
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 401]

Although you write two hundred lines
Of poetry each day,
You shun our constant plea to let us
Hear your poetry.
Two hundred verses every day,
And I, with luck, one line!
You can't be good, though very good
Of you, sir, to decline!
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Although you make two hundred verses every day, Varus, you never recite. You are a fool, and you are no fool.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

He turns out verses by the ton,
But never publishes a one.
He is too dumb to be a poet,
But wise enough in fact to know it.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Though Varus daily sits and writes --
Two hundred lines! -- he neither tries
To publish verses nor recites.
He's not too witty, but he's wise.
[tr. Barth]

 
Added on 21-Jul-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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On the subject of Biblical texts and examples to why you can’t do certain things with your body that you wish to, I find that absolutely absurd. I’ve always been extremely uncomfortable with the idea in any society that belief is based on revealed truth, that’s to say on a text like a Bible or a Qur’an, or whatever it is. It seems to me that the greatness of our culture, for all its incredible faults, is that we have grown up on the Greek ideal of discovering the truth, discovering by looking around us, by empirical experiment, by the combination of the experience of generations of ancestors who have contributed to our sum knowledge of the way the world works, and so on. And to have that snatched away and to be told what to think by a book, however great it may be in places, this is a book that says you can sell your daughter into slavery, it’s a book that bans menstruating women from within miles of temples. The fact that it also says that for one man to lie with another man is an abomination, is no more made relevant or important than the fact that you can’t eat shellfish.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry (b. 1957) British actor, writer, comedian
An Evening with Callow & Fry, Norwich (2003-12)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Jul-23 | Last updated 19-Jul-23
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Consider what you came from: you are Greeks!
You were not born to live like mindless brutes
but to follow paths of excellence and knowledge.

[Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 26, l. 118ff (26.118-120) [Ulysses] (1320) [tr. Musa (1971)]
    (Source)

Speaking to his sailors on their final voyage, urging them to explore the unknown.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

On your original reflect, nor think
That you were, made, like Brutes, to only live,
But knowledge and to virtuous acts pursue.
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Recall your glorious toils, your lofty birth.
Nor like the grov'ling herds, ally'd to earth.
No base despondence quit your lofty claim.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19]

Call to mind from whence we sprang:
Ye were not form’d to live the life of brutes
But virtue to pursue and knowledge high.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Bethink you of your birth-rank and its dues:
Ye were not thus for brutish life endued.
But Virtue's path and Learning's born to chuse.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Consider your origin: ye were not formed to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Consider, then, the birth from whence you sprung:
You were not made, like brutes, to live and die:
The path of virtue and of knowledge try.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Consider well the seed from whence you sprung;
You were not made to live as live the beasts,
But to seek virtue and true knowledge grasp.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Consider ye the seed from which ye sprang;
Ye were not made to live like unto brutes,
But for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Consider your begetting; ye were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Over your noble birthright ye should muse;
To live like senseless brutes ye were not made,
But knowledge to pursue and virtue use.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Consider ye your origin; ye were not made to live as brutes, but for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Bethink you of your birth: ye were not made to live the life of brutes, but to obey the call of valour and of knowledge.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Consider ye the seed that ye are sprung from:
Ye were not made to live as the brute creatures,
But that ye virtue might pursue and knowledge.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Take thought of the seed from which you spring. You were not born to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Think on the seed ye spring from! Ye were made
Not to live life of brute beasts of the field
But follow virtue and knowledge unafraid.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Think of your breed; for brutish ignorance
Your mettle was not made; you were made men.
To follow after knowledge and excellence.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Greeks! You were not born to live like brutes,
but to press on toward manhood and recognition!
[tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 110]

Consider your origin: you were not made to live as brutes, but to pursue virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Consider well the seed that gave you birth:
you were not made to live your lives as brutes,
but to be followers of worth and knowledge.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Consider then the race from which you have sprung:
You were not made to live like animals,
But to pursue virtue and know the world.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Consider well your seed:
You were not born to live as a mere brute does,
But for the pursuit of knowledge and the good.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

Consider your sowing: you were not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Consider your origin: you were not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Hold clear in thought your seed and origin.
You were not made to live as mindless brutes,
but go in search of virtue and true knowledge.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Consider how your souls were sown:
you were not made to live like brutes or beasts,
but to pursue virtue and knowledge.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Think of your origins, the people you come from:
You were not made to live like wild-toothed beasts,
But for the pursuit of virtue and honest knowledge.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Remember now your pedigree.
You were not born to live as brutes. Virtue
And knowledge are your guiding lights.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 14-Jul-23 | Last updated 14-Jul-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

“Let your conscience be your guide” is a silly thing to say to a good man, or a bad one.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1966)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Jul-23 | Last updated 13-Jul-23
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Temperance.
Temperance and honoring the gods. It’s the best we can do.
The smartest thing mortals can choose to do.

[τὸ σωφρονεῖν δὲ καὶ σέβειν τὰ τῶν θεῶν
κάλλιστον: οἶμαι δ᾽ αὐτὸ καὶ σοφώτατον
θνητοῖσιν εἶναι κτῆμα τοῖσι χρωμένοις.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 1150ff [Messenger/Ἄγγελος] (405 BC) [tr. Pauly (2019)]
    (Source)

After recounting the brutal murder and dismemberment of Pentheus by the Bacchantes in punishment of his disrespect to Dionysus.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For modest worth, and reverence for the Gods,
Are, in my judgement, the most certain marks
Of glory and of wisdom in mankind.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

Soundness of mind and reverence for the affairs of the gods is best; and this, I think, is the wisest possession for those mortals who adopt it.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Oh! to be reverent, to adore the gods,
This is the noblest, wisest course of man,
Taking dread warning from this dire event.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

For soberness and reverence for the gods
I deem the wisest and the best of things
To all such men as learn this lesson well.
[tr. Rogers (1872)]

To my mind self-restraint and reverence for the things of God point alike the best and wisest course for all mortals who pursue them.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

Ay, self-restraint, and reverence for the Gods
Are best, I ween; 'tis wisest far for men
To get these in possession, and cleave thereto.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Oh, to fulfil
God's laws, and have no thought beyond His will,
Is man's best treasure. Aye, and wisdom true,
Methinks, for things of dust to cleave unto!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

Humility,
a sense of reverence before the sons of heaven --
of all the prizes that a mortal man might win,
these, I say, are wisest; these are best.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

To be of sound mind and reverence the things divine
is finest -- and I think it is also the wisest
practice for mortal men to follow.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

The noblest thing a man can have is a humble and quiet heart that reveres the gods. I think that is also the wisest thing for a man to possess, if he will be use it.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Pure thought, and reverence for what is god’s --
this is the fairest and, I think, the wisest
possession mortals can employ.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

I am but a simple man, yet to me
reverence and humility before the Gods
is best for all men. It is also the only wisdom.
If only men would use it. So I think.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

To be moderate and honor godly things
Is best. I think it the wisest possession
For mortal men, if they use it well.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Moderation and reverence for things divine,
this is the best course. And it is also, I think,
the wisest possession for those mortals who use it.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

But this is the highest glory: have a sound mind and reverence for
whatever belongs to the gods. This too is the most wise
of all pursuits a human being can follow.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Wise moderation and a reverence
For what is of the gods -- this is what’s best.
And this, I think, of all possessions owned
By mortals, is the wisest one to use.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The best thing of all is to practice moderation and worship the gods. That is also, I think, the wisest possession a mortal can make use of.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

The greatest wisdom is humility,
It is the greatest gift the gods give us;
Most wise the man who uses it.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

Wisdom and respect for the gods is a great virtue and a possession most worthy for the mortals to have.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

For having a mind that respects the affairs of divine ones
is the most beautiful thing on earth, and I think
it is the wisest thing someone could do.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

The best thing is to keep one's mind controlled,
and worship all that comes down from the gods.
That, in my view, is the wisest custom,
for those who can conduct their lives that way.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 1428ff]

This is another lesson:
that moderation and reverence for the gods
are a mortal's best possession.
[tr. Robertson (2014), l. 1149ff]

For I believe
that our most beautiful possessions are sanity and a love of the gods.
The wise are those who use wisdom.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Balance [sōphroneîn] and reverence for the affairs of the gods is best. I think this is the most sophon possession for mortals’ use.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

Humility, a sense of reverence before the sons of heaven --
of all the prizes that a mortal man might win
these, I say, are wisest; these are best.
[Bartlett's]

 
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To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“Censorship by Progressives,” New York American (1934-10-11)
    (Source)
 
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The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.

[Η αρχή της σοφίας είναι ο καθορισμός των όρων]

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
(Paraphrase)

Frequently attributed to Socrates (or, our source for most Socratic material, Plato), but not found as such in their works.

That said, there are places where Socrates indicates that searching out the meanings of ambiguities is important, and his "Socratic method" often involves calling definitions (or their implications) into question.

For example, in Phaedrus, 256d [tr. Jowett (1892)], Plato has Socrates note:

First, the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea; as in our definition of love, which whether true or false certainly gave clearness and consistency to the discourse, the speaker should define his several notions and so make his meaning clear.

[εἰς μίαν τε ἰδέαν συνορῶντα ἄγειν τὰ πολλαχῇ διεσπαρμένα, ἵνα ἕκαστον ὁριζόμενος δῆλον ποιῇ περὶ οὗ ἂν ἀεὶ διδάσκειν ἐθέλῃ. ὥσπερ τὰ νυνδὴ περὶ Ἔρωτος -- ὃ ἔστιν ὁρισθέν -- εἴτ᾽ εὖ εἴτε κακῶς ἐλέχθη, τὸ γοῦν σαφὲς καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ αὑτῷ ὁμολογούμενον διὰ ταῦτα ἔσχεν εἰπεῖν ὁ λόγος.]

Possibly from this sentiment, Socrates' student Antisthenes said the very similar to the subject quotation, As recorded in Arrianus, The Discourses of Epictetus [Epictetus Diatibai], Book 1, ch. 17 [tr. Long (1877)]:

The beginning of education is the examination of terms.

[ἀρχὴ παιδεύσεως ἡ τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐπίσκεψις]

Arrianus was a student of Epictetus, who had been a pupil of Antisthenes. In the full passage, Epictetus ties this phrase back to Antisthenes and Socrates, possibly establishing the phrasing as a something directly said by Socrates.

More discussion of this quotation:
 
Added on 31-Mar-23 | Last updated 31-Mar-23
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The supposed wisdom of proverbs is mainly imaginary. As a rule, proverbs go in pairs which say opposite things. The opposite of “More haste, less speed” is “A stitch in time saves nine.” The opposite of “Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves,” “Penny wise, pound foolish.” The opposite of “Two heads are better than one,” is “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” And so on. The great advantage of a proverb in argument is that it is supposed to be incontrovertible, as embodying the quintessential sagacity of our ancestors. But when once you have realised that proverbs go in pairs which say opposite things you can never again be downed by a proverb; you merely quote the opposite.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“On Proverbs,” New York American (1932-11-16)
    (Source)
 
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There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.

Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss (b. 1973) American author
The Name of the Wind, ch. 43 “The Flickering Way” (2007)
    (Source)
 
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Talk sense to a fool
and he calls you foolish.

[δόξει τις ἀμαθεῖ σοφὰ λέγων οὐκ εὖ φρονεῖν.]

Euripides - Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish - wist.info quote

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 480 [Dionysus/Διόνυσος] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

Replying to Pentheus' charge that he's being foolishly evasive.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He must seem devoid
Of reason, who mysterious truths unfolds
To those who lack discretion.
tr. Wodhull (1809)]

One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wisely to an ignorant man.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Who wiseliest speaks, to the fool speaks foolishness.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Boors think a wise man’s words devoid of sense.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 457]

He were a fool, methinks, who would utter wisdom to a fool.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

Wise answers seem but folly to a fool.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Wise words being brought
To blinded eyes will seem as things of nought.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

He who talks wisdom to an ignorant man will seem out of his senses.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

A wise speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Talk truth to a deaf man and he
Begs your pardon.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Wise speech seems thoughtless to the ignorant.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

What makes no sense is talking sense to a fool.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

To the ignorant, wisdom will seem folly.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

To the ignorant man, any speaker of wisdom will seem foolish.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Speak wisdom to a fool and he'll think you have no sense at all.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Wise things to the ignorant will sound like nonsense.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

Speak wisdom to a fool and he will think you foolish.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

Wise words spoken in the ear of a fool turn into nothingness.
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

It is not wise for someone to say anything wise to the ignorant.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

Wise words will appear foolishness -- to an idiot.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

Yes, but, then,
a man can seem really ignorant
when speaking to a fool.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

Sense is nonsense to a fool.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

Wisdom always sounds silly to the unwise.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

Only a fool takes a warning for an insult.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wise things [sopha] to a senseless man.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
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There are no exact directions. There are probably no directions at all. The only things that I am able to recommend at this moment are: a sense of humour; an ability to see the ridiculous and the absurd dimensions of things; an ability to laugh about others as well as about ourselves; a sense of irony; and, of everything that invites parody in this world. In other words: rising above things, or looking at them from a distance; sensibility to the hidden presence of all the more dangerous types of conceit in others, as well as in ourselves; good cheer; an unostentatious certainty of the meaning of things; gratitude for the gift of life and courage to assume responsibility for it; and, a vigilant mind.

Václav Havel (1936-2011) Czech playwright, essayist, dissident, politician
Speech, accepting the “Open Society” Prize, Central European University (24 Jun 1999)
    (Source)
 
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We alone are right-minded; everyone else is wrong.

[μόνοι γὰρ εὖ φρονοῦμεν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι κακῶς.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 196 [Teiresias/Τειρεσίας] (405 BC) [tr. Robinson (2014)]
    (Source)

When asked by Cadmus about being the only men of Thebes attending the Bacchanal. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translation:

          Because ourselves alone
Are truly wise, but others judge amiss.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

Yes, for we alone think rightly, the rest wrongly.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

All else misjudge; we only are the wise.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Alone: For we are wise, the rest are fools.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 179]

Yea, for we alone are wise, the rest are mad.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

Yea, we alone are wise; the rest be fools.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Aye, Thebes is blinded. Thou and I can see.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

          They are all blind.
Only we can see.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

Yes, for only we are sane -- the rest are mad.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

We are the only men right-minded; the rest are perverse.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

We alone think well, the others ill.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

The only ones with healthy minds. The rest are sick.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Only we think right. The others vilely.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Yes, since only we reason well. The rest are fools!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

The only ones in our right minds. The rest are mad.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Yes, only we have any sense, the rest have none.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

Yes, we alone have sense, the others none.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

Yes, Kadmos because we are the only ones who can think straight. The rest of them? They are all wrong!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

We alone've got it right; the others, wrongly.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

          Yes, indeed,
for we're the only ones whose minds are clear.
As for the others, well, their thinking's wrong.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 247ff]

The rest are blind. Only we can see.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

We’re the only ones wise enough. The rest ... less so.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

Of course; no one else has enough sense.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

We alone are sensible, all the others foolish.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
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Cleverness is not wisdom,
nor is thinking thoughts that are not mortal.
Life is short; this being so,
who would pursue great things
and not bear with what is at hand? These
are the ways of madmen and
men of evil counsel, at least
in my judgment.

[τὸ σοφὸν δ’ οὐ σοφία,
τό τε μὴ θνατὰ φρονεῖν
βραχὺς αἰών· ἐπὶ τούτωι
δὲ τίς ἂν μεγάλα διώκων
τὰ παρόντ’ οὐχὶ φέροι; μαι
νομένων οἵδε τρόποι καὶ
κακοβούλων παρ’ ἔμοιγε φωτῶν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 395ff (Stasimon 1, Antiphon/Antistrophe 1) [Chorus/Χορός] (405 BC) [tr. Kirk (1970)]
    (Source)

The chorus of Bacchantes is playing with the similarly-rooted sophon (cleverness) and sophia (wisdom). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translation:

That science which beyond the scope
Of frail humanity aspires.
Haunts not the bosom of the Sage.
Short is life, and they who follow
Ambition's splendid treacherous lure
Taste not the blessings of the present hour:
I deem their conduct frantic and unwise.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

But cleverness is not wisdom, nor is thinking on things unfit for mortals. Life is short, and on this account the one who pursues great things does not achieve that which is present. In my opinion, these are the ways of mad and ill-advised men.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Beyond the range of mortal eyes
'Tis not wisdom to be wise.
Life is brief, the present clasp,
Nor after some bright future grasp.
Such were the wisdom, as I ween,
Only of frantic and ill-counseled men.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

That wisdom is not wise Which aims beyond man’s power.
Short is our life; to grasp at much is but to lose the present good, --
And this to me seems like the deed of frenzied and of foolish men.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 378ff]

Ah, not with knowledge is Wisdom bought;
And the spirit that soareth too high for mortals
Shall see few days: whosoever hath caught
At the things too great for a man's attaining,
Even blessings assured shall he lose in the gaining.
Such paths as this, meseemeth, be sought
Of the witless folly that roves distraught.
[tr. Way (1898)]

But the world's Wise are not wise,
Claiming more than mortal may.
Life is such a little thing;
Lo, their present is departed,
And the dreams to which they cling
Come not. Mad imagining
Theirs, I ween, and empty-hearted!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

Sophistry is not wisdom, and to indulge in thoughts beyond man’s ken is to shorten life; and if a man on such poor terms should aim too high, he may miss the pleasures in his reach. These, to my mind, are the ways of madmen and idiots.
[tr. Coleridge (1907)]

And what passes for wisdom is not;
unwise are those who aspire,
who outrange the limits of man.
Briefly, we live. Briefly,
then die. Wherefore, I say,
he who hunts a glory, he who tracks
some boundless, superhuman dream,
may lose his harvest here and now
and garner death. Such men are mad,
their counsels evil.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

To know much is not to be wise.
Pride more than mortal hastens life to its end;
And they who in pride pretend
Beyond man's limit, will lose what lay
Close to their hand and sure.
I count it madness, and know no cure can mend
The evil man and his evil way.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Wisdom is not what is wise,
nor to think non-mortal thoughts.
Life is fleeting; can it be, then, that one seeks after what is greater,
not accepting circumstance?
These are the manners of a madman and, to me, of evil counsel'd persons.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

A knowing mind that ignores its own limits
has a very short span. And the man
who aims too high
never reaps what lies within his grasp.
Such is the folly --
and I know none worse --
of perversely ambitious, fanatical men.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

But shallow wisdom is untrue.
To think beyond this life
Cuts short our life. He who
Pursues the great, forfeits
What lies at hand. Such temperaments
According to my thought, belong
To madmen and the ill-advised.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

So cleverness is not wisdom
nor is it wise to think thoughts unfit for mortals.
Life is short. Given such brevity
who would pursue ambitious ends
And lose what lies at hand?
These, in my opinion at least,
are the ways of madmen and evil counsellors.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Wisdom? It's not wise
to lift our thoughts too high;
we are human, and our time is short.
A man who aims at greatness
will not live to own what he has now.
That, I believe, is the belief of men
whose judgment is foul.
They are insane.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Intellect is not wisdom.
And to think in a manner
not right for mortals means
Life will be short. Who
Would pursue great things
If doing so meant losing what
Is already his?
That is the way, as I see it,
And bad counsel, of madmen.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000), l. 469ff]

Cleverness is not wisdom
nor is it wise to think thoughts not mortal.
Our life is short: this being so,
a man who pursues great things
may miss what lies at hand. To live thus
is to be, in my judgment
a madman and a fool.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

The wise are not wise if they don’t consider a human’s lot.
Life is short.
He who constantly pursues great achievements in this life, won’t have time to enjoy those he already has achieved.
So far as I can tell, these are the doings of madmen and evil minds.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

Cleverness is not wisdom;
Thinking heavenly
Thoughts, short life; in that case,
Who, in hunting greater things,
Would not be content with present fortune?
These are ways of men insane, with-
out understanding, so it seems to me.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

But being clever isn't wisdom.
And thinking deeply about things
isn't suitable for mortal men.
Our life is brief -- that's why
the man who chases greatness
fails to grasp what's near at hand.
That's what madmen do,
men who've lost their wits.
That's what I believe.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 497ff]

Cleverness is not wisdom,
that over-reaching mortals
simply shorten their lives.
Life is brief enough as it is,
so hold it all to hand.
Wild ambition is a kind of madness:
stretch too hard for the summit
and you will fail and fall
and plummet back to land.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

Cleverness is not wisdom,
and neither is reaching beyond thoughts meant for mortals.
Our lives are short.
Spend all your time reaching
and you miss what’s in front of you.
This is the madman’s way.
Or at least the ill-counseled.
But that’s just my opinion.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

Cleverness is not wisdom, and those who'd seem wise as the gods -- their live will be short. Those who seek greatness will not see the snake at their feet. Mad ways set all on the road to disaster.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

It is not wisdom [sophiā] to be overly sophos, and to think things unbefitting mortal men. Life is short, and in it he who pursues great things does not achieve that which is present. In my opinion, these are the ways of mad and ill-counseling men.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

Wisdom is not wit;
Nor is thinking thoughts which belong not to mortals.
Life is brief. And because of this
Whoever seeks out great accomplishments
May not grasp the things at hand.
These are the ways of madmen
And wicked fools, I think.
[tr. @sentantiq (2021)]

 
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It may be prudent in me to act sometimes by other men’s reason; but I can think only by my own.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
    (Source)
 
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You were wrong to fault my body as weak
and effete; for if I am able to reason well,
this is superior to a muscular arm.

[τὸ δ᾽ἀσθενές µου καὶ τὸ θῆλυ σώµατος
κακῶς ἐµέµφθης· εἰ γὰρ εὖ φρονεῖν ἔχω,
κρεῖσσον τόδ᾽ἐστὶ καρτεροῦ βραχίονος.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antiope [Αντιοπη], frag. 199 (TGF, Kannicht) [Amphion/ΑΜΦΙΩΝ] (c. 410 BC) [tr. Will (2015)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Barnes frag. 22, Musgrave frag. 34. Alternate translations:

No right
Hast thou to censure this my frame as weak
And womanish, for if I am endued
With wisdom, that exceeds the nervous arm.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

You were wrong to censure my weak and effeminate body;
for if I can think soundly, this is stronger than a sturdy arm.
[tr. Collard (2004)]

 
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He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Idler, # 57 “The Character of Sophron” (19 May 1759)
    (Source)

One of Sophron's (Wisdom's) maxims.
 
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The greatest of sages can commit one mistake, but not two; he may fall into error, but he doesn’t lie down and make his home there.

[En un descuido puede caer el mayor sabio, pero en dos no; y de paso, que no de asiento.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 214 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

The wisest man may very well fail once, but not twice; transiently, and by inadvertency, but not deliberately.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

A wise man may make one slip but never two, and that only in running, not while standing still.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

The wisest of men may slip once, but not twice, and that only by chance, and not by design.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
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Well, that’s Philosophy I’ve read,
And Law and Medicine, and I fear
Theology, too, from A to Zed;
Hard studies all, that have cost me dear.
And so I sit, poor silly man
No wiser now than when I began.

[Habe nun, ach! Philosophie,
Juristerei und Medizin,
Und leider auch Theologie
Durchaus studiert, mit heißem Bemühn.
Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!
Und bin so klug als wie zuvor.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 4 “Night,” ll. 354ff (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1987)]
    (Source)

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

I've studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine,
And even, alas! Theology
All through and through with ardour keen!
Here now I stand, poor fool, and see
I'm just as wise as formerly.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

Now I have toil'd thro' all; philosophy,
Law, physic, and theology: alas!
All, all I have explor'd; and here I am
A weak blind fool at last: in wisdom risen
No higher than before.
[tr. Coleridge (1821)]

I have now, alas, by zealous exertion, thoroughly mastered philosophy, the jurist's craft, and medicine -- and to my sorrow, theology too. Here I stand, poor fool that I am, just as wise as before.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

I have, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

Have now, alas! quite studied through
Philosophy and Medicine,
And Law, and ah! Theology, too,
With hot desire the truth to win!
And here, at last, I stand, poor fool!
As wise as when I entered school
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

I've studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine, --
And even, alas! Theology, --
From end to end, with labor keen;
And here, poor fool! with all my lore
I stand, no wiser than before:
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

There now, I’ve toiled my way quite through
Law, Medicine, and Philosophy,
And, to my sorrow, also thee,
Theology, with much ado;
And here I stand, poor human fool,
As wise as when I went to school.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

I have studied, alas! Philosophy,
And Jurisprudence, and Medicine, too,
And saddest of all, Theology,
With arden labor, through and through!
And here I stick, as wise, poor fool,
As when my steps first turned to school.
[tr. Latham (1908)]

I have, alas, studied philosophy,
Jurisprudence and medicine, too,
And, worst of all, theology
With keen endeavor, through and through --
And here I am, for all my lore,
The wretched fool I was before.
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

Alas, I have studied philosophy,
the law as well as medicine,
and to my sorrow, theology;
studied them well with ardent zeal,
yet here I am, a wretched fool
no wiser than I was before.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

I have pursued, alas, philosophy,
Jurisprudence, and medicine, And, help me God, theology,
With fervent zeal through thick and thin.
And here, poor fool, I stand once more,
No wiser than I was before.
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

I've studied, alas, philosophy,
Law and medicine, recto and verso,
And how I regret it, theology also,
Oh God, how hard I've slaved away,
With what result? Poor foolish old man,
I'm not whit wiser than when I began!
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

Medicine, and Law, and Philosophy --
You've worked your way through every school,
Even, God help you, Theology,
And sweated at it like a fool.
Why labour at it any more?
You're no wiser now than you were before.
[tr. Williams (1999)]

Ah! Now I’ve done Philosophy,
I’ve finished Law and Medicine,
And sadly even Theology:
Taken fierce pains, from end to end.
Now here I am, a fool for sure!
No wiser than I was before.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
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The gifts and the lessons my father left me will last forever: Never take yourself too seriously, never miss a chance to laugh long and hard, speak out about political and social issues you believe in, use the written word as often as you can to make yourself and the world a better place, and love your children with all you’ve got.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Paraphrase of Rod Serling in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, Epilogue (2013)
    (Source)
 
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There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.

[Es giebt Fälle, wo das höchste Wagen die höchste Weisheit ist.]

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Kriege], Book 2, ch. 5 “Critical Analysis [Kritik]” (2.5) (1832) [tr. Graham (1873)]
    (Source)

Jolles (1943) translates this passage the same as Graham. (Source (German)). Alternate translation:

There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom.
[tr. Howard & Paret (1976)]

 
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What’s old age for if not dispensing bullshit and calling it wisdom?

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Good Guys (2018)
    (Source)
 
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But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor!

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Benjamin Waterhouse (26 Jun 1822)
    (Source)
 
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“The choice is yours: to go or wait.”

“And it is also said,” answered Frodo: “Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.”

“Is it indeed?” laughed Gildor. “Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 3 “Three Is Company” (1954)
    (Source)
 
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Politeness is prudence and consequently rudeness is folly. To make enemies by being wantonly and unnecessarily rude is as crazy as setting one’s house on fire.

[Höflichkeit ist Klugheit; folglich ist Unhöflichkeit Dummheit: sich mittelst ihrer unnötiger und mutwilliger Weise Feinde machen ist Raserei, wie wenn man sein Haus in Brand steckt.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 1, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit],” ch. 5 “Counsels and Maxims [Paränesen und Maximen],” § 3.36 (1851) [tr. Payne (1974)]
    (Source)

Source (German). Alternate translation:

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire.
[tr. Saunders (1890)]

 
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We should not be surprised that the Founding Fathers didn’t foresee everything, when we see that the current Fathers hardly ever foresee anything.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Conversations with Historians,” interview by John A. Garraty, American Heritage (1970-02)
    (Source)

Excerpted from Interpreting American History: Conversations with Historians, Part 1, ch. 4 (1970).
 
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This was unwise, but if autocrats always acted wisely they would not furnish history with moral lessons.

Tuchman - If autocrats always acted wisely they would not furnish history with moral lessons - wist.info quote

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
A Distant Mirror, ch. 21 “The Fiction Cracks” (1978)
    (Source)

On young King Richard II's giving substantial offices and lands to his friend and mentor, the Earl of Oxford, in so doing making an enemy of the Duke of Gloucester.
 
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The vulgar ignorance of stubborn people makes them prefer contention to truth and utility. Prudent people are on the side of reason, not passion, whether because they foresaw it from the first, or because they improved their position later.

[Vulgaridad de temáticos, no reparar en la verdad, por contradecir, ni en la utilidad, por litigar. El atento siempre está de parte de la razón, no de la pasión, o anticipándose antes o mejorándose después.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 142 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

It is the custome of the head strong to regard neither truth in contradicting; nor profit in disputing. A wise man hath always reason on his side, and never falls into passion. He either prevents or retreats.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

'Tis the common failing of the obstinate that they lose the true by contradicting it, and the useful by quarrelling with it. The sage never places himself on the side of passion but espouses the cause of right, either discovering it first or improving it later.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

The vulgarity of these clowns, that they observe not the truth, because they lie, nor yet their own interest, because on the wrong side. A heedful man stands always on the side of reason, and never that of passion, either because he foresaw it from the first, or found it better afterwards.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
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The whole philosophy of life can be summed up in two little words: be kind.

Bertie Charles (B. C.) Forbes (1880-1954) American publisher
Forbes Epigrams (1922)
    (Source)
 
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Right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many this is, and will always be, folly; but we have staked upon it our all.

Learned Hand (1872-1961) American jurist
United States v Associated Press, 52 F. Supp. 362, 372 (1943)
    (Source)
 
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And yet a majority vote is worthless as a proof of truths that are at all difficult to discover; for a single man is much more likely to hit upon them than a group of people. I was, then, unable to choose anyone whose opinions struck me as preferable to those of all others, and I found myself as it were forced to become my own guide.

[Et que néanmoins la pluralité des voix n’est pas une preuve qui vaille rien, pour les vérités un peu malaisées à découvrir, à cause qu’il est bien plus vraisemblable qu’un homme seul les ait rencontrées que tout un peuple; je ne pouvois choisir personne dont les opinions me semblassent devoir être préférées à celles des autres, et je me trouvai comme contraint d’entreprendre moi-même de me conduire.]

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 2 (1637) [tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Notwithstanding that plurality of voices is a proof of no validity, in those truths which are hard to be discovered; for that it’s much more likely for one man alone to have met with them, then a whole Nation; I could choose no Man whose opinion was to be preferr’d before anothers: And I found my self even constrain’d to undertake the conduct of my self.
[tr. Newcombe ed. (1649)]

Although such be the ground of our opinions, I remarked that a plurality of suffrages is no guarantee of truth where it is at all of difficult discovery, as in such cases it is much more likely that it will be found by one than by many. I could, however, select from the crowd no one whose opinions seemed worthy of preference, and thus I found myself constrained, as it were, to use my own reason in the conduct of my life.
[tr. Veitch (1901)]

Yet in spite of this the voice of the majority does not afford a proof of any value in truths a little difficult to discover, because such truths are much more likely to have been discovered by one man than by a nation. I could not, however, put my finger on a single person whose opinions seemed preferable to those of others, and I found that I was, so to speak, constrained myself to undertake the direction of my procedure.
[tr. Haldane & Ross (1911)]

 
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The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
The Meaning of Treason, Epilogue (1947)
    (Source)
 
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Life can be confusing. Good God, and how. Sometimes it seems like the older I get, the more confused I become. That seems ass-backwards. I thought I was supposed to be getting wiser. Instead, I just keep getting hit over the head with my relative insignificance in the greater scheme of the universe. Confusing, life.

But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty, ch. 47 (2006)
    (Source)
 
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Monsieur, my son is twenty-two years old. If he had not become a Communist at twenty-two, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at thirty, I will do it then.

Georges Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau (1841–1929) French statesman, physician, journalist
(Attributed)

Response to someone who was alarmed about his son being a Communist, as attributed in Bennett Cerf, Try and Stop Me (1944).

This may be the source of the quote also attributed to Clemenceau, “Any man who is not a socialist at age twenty has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist at age forty has no head.” Later, George Seldes attributed to David Lloyd George: "A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head.” François Guizot in the mid-19th Century was said to have said, “Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”

The earliest version of this comes from a public letter by Anselme Polycarpe Batbie (1828-1887), who attributed this to Edmund Burke: "Anyone who is not a republican at twenty casts doubt on the generosity of his soul; but he who, after thirty years, perseveres, casts doubt on the soundness of his mind. [Celui qui n’est pas républicain à vingt ans fait douter de la générosité de son âme; mais celui qui, après trente ans, persévère, fait douter de la rectitude de son esprit.]" This has not been found in Burke's writings.

Variants have also been attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Dean Inge, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Otto von Bismarck, and Bertrand Russell.

Further discussion of this quotation:
 
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Wretchedness is caused by emotional disturbances, and the happy life by calmness, and disturbance takes two forms — anxiety and fear in expecting evils, ecstatic joy and lustful thoughts in misunderstanding good things, all of which are at variance with with wisdom and reason. Accordingly, if a man possesses self-control and consistency, and is without fear, distress, excitability, or lust, is he not happy? But this is the nature of the wise man always, so he is happy always.

[Atque cum perturbationes animi miseriam, sedationes autem vitam efficiant beatam, duplexque ratio perturbationis sit, quod aegritudo et metus in malis opinatis, in bonorum autem errore laetitia gestiens libidoque versetur, quae omnia cum consilio et ratione pugnent, his tu tam gravibus concitationibus tamque ipsis inter se dissentientibus atque distractis quem vacuum solutum liberum videris, hunc dubitabis beatum dicere? atqui sapiens semper ita adfectus est; semper igitur sapiens beatus est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 5, ch. 15 (5.15) / sec. 43 (45 BC) [tr. Davie (2017)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Now since the Disturbances of the Soul render the Life miserable, but the composure of them happy; and there is a double rank of Passions; in that, Discontent and Fear are terminated on Evils conceiv'd; but excessive Mirth and Lust arise from the misapprehension of good things, since all are inconsistent with Advice and Reason, if you shall see any one clear, emancipated, free from these emotions so vehement, so discordant one with the other, and so distracting, can you make any question of calling him Happy? But the Wise man is always so dispos'd, therefore the Wise man is always Happy.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquility renders it happy: and as these perturbations are of two sorts; grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, immoderate joy and lust, from the mistake of what is good; and all these are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another, can you hesitate to pronounce such a one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition: therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Main (1824)]

But when the perturbations render life unhappy, while their repose makes it happy -- and since the mode of perturbation is twofold -- sorrow and fear having birth from reputed evils -- the delirium of joy and desire, from the delusion of good, -- when all these are repugnant to counsel and reason, and you see a man void, exempt, free from these excitements, so vehement, so discordant, so distracted by mutual conflicts, -- will you hesitate to pronounce him happy? But the wise man is always thus, and therefore always happy.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another can you hesitate to pronounce such an one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition, therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Now since perturbations of mind create misery, while quietness of mind makes life happy, and since there are two kinds of perturbations, grief and fear having their scope in imagined evils, inordinate joy and desire in mistaken notions of the good, all being repugnant to wise counsel and reason, will you hesitate to call him happy whom you see relieved, released, free from these excitements so oppressive, and so at variance and divided among themselves? Indeed one thus disposed is always happy. Therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

 
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Most people do not mind being surpassed in good fortune, character, or temperament, but no one, especially not a sovereign, likes to be surpassed in intelligence. For this is the king of attributes, and any crime against it is lèse-majesté.

[Bien se hallará quien quiera ceder en la dicha, y en el genio; pero en el ingenio, ninguno, cuanto menos una soberanía. Es éste el atributo rey, y así cualquier crimen contra él fue de lesa Majestad.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

See Johnson. (Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

There are many who will yield in good fortune, or in good humour; but no body will yield in Wit, and least of all a Sovereign. Wit is the King of Attributes, and by consequent, every Offence against it, is no less a Crime than Treason.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

There be some that will grant you precedence in good luck or good temper but none in good sense, least of all a prince; for good sense is a royal prerogative, any claim to that is a case of lèse-majesté.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

Some will deign to take place after you in matters of luck or of heart, but in intelligence, none, least of all a sovereign: for this is the sovereign attribute, wherefore any attack upon it is a crime against majesty.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

 
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Men will learn eventually, and if they insist on rejecting the received wisdom of generations past, they do not thereby succeed at invalidating it; they merely condemn themselves to learning it, time and again, by ever grimmer experience.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) Franco-British writer, historian [Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc]
(Misattributed)
    (Source)

While usually attributed to Belloc, and even further to his essay "The Restoration of Property" (1936), it does not appear in that work, proper. Rather, it is found in the Introduction to the 2002 IHS Press edition the work, signed only by the Directors of the IHS Press.
 
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For whoever reflects on the nature of things, the various turns of life, and the weakness of human nature, grieves, indeed, at that reflection; but while so grieving he is, above all other times, behaving as a wise man: for he gains these two things by it; one, that while he is considering the state of human nature he is performing the especial duties of philosophy, and is provided with a triple medicine against adversity: in the first place, because he has long reflected that such things might befall him, and this reflection by itself contributes much towards lessening and weakening all misfortunes; and, secondly, because he is persuaded that we should bear all the accidents which can happen to a man, with the feelings and spirit of a man; and lastly, because he considers that what is blameable is the only evil; but it is not your fault that something has happened to you which it was impossible for man to avoid.

[Neque enim qui rerum naturam, qui vitae varietatem, qui imbecillitatem generis humani cogitat, maeret, cum haec cogitat, sed tum vel maxime sapientiae fungitur munere. Utrumque enim consequitur, ut et considerandis rebus humanis proprio philosophiae fruatur officio et adversis casibus triplici consolatione sanetur: primum quod posse accidere diu cogitavit, quae cogitatio una maxime molestias omnes extenuat et diluit; deinde quod humana humane ferenda intelligit; postremo quod videt malum nullum esse nisi culpam, culpam autem nullam esse, cum id, quod ab homine non potuerit praestari, evenerit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 3, ch. 16 (3.16) / sec. 34 (45 BC) [tr. Yonge (1853)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For he that considers the order of Nature, and the Vicissitudes of Life, and the Frailty of Mankind is not melancholly when he considers these things, but is then most principally imploy'd in the exercise of Wisdom, for he reaps a double advantage; both that in the consideration of man's circumstances, he enjoyeth the proper Office of Philosophy; and in case of Adversity, he is supported by a threefold Consolation. First, that he hath long consider'd that such accidents might come; which consideration alone doth most weaken and allay all Afflictions. Then he cometh to learn, that all Tryals common to men, should be born, as such, patiently. Lastly, that he perceiveth there is no Evil, but where is blame; but there is no blame, when that falls out, the Prevention of which, was not in man to warrant.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

For whoever reflects on the nature of things, the various turns of life, the weakness of human nature, grieves indeed at that reflection; but that grief becomes him as a wise man, for he gains these two points by it; when he is considering the state of human nature he is enjoying all the advantage of philosophy, and is provided with a triple medicine against adversity. The first is, that he has long reflected that such things might befall him, which reflection alone contributes much towards lessening all misfortunes: the next is, that he is persuaded, that we should submit to the condition of human nature: the last is, that he discovers what is blameable to be the only evil. But it is not your fault that something lights on you, which it was impossible for man to avoid.
[tr. Main (1824)]

For neither does he who contemplates the nature of things, the mutations of life, the fragility of man, grieve when he thinks of these matters, but then most especially exercises the office of wisdom. For, by the study of human affairs, he at once pursues the proper aim of philosophy, and provides himself with a triple consolation for adverse events: -- first, that he has long deemed them possible to arrive; which one consideration has the greatest efficacy for the extenuation and mitigation of all misfortune: and, next, he perceives that human accidents are to be borne like a man: and, finally, because he sees there is no evil but fault, and that there is no fault where that has happened which man could not have prevented.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

Indeed, he who thinks of the nature of things, of the varying fortune of life, of the weakness of the human race, does not sorrow when these things are on his mind, but he then most truly performs the office of wisdom; for from such thought there are two consequences, -- the one, that he discharges the peculiar function of philosophy; the other, that in adversity he has the curative aid of a threefold consolation: first, because, as he has long thought what may happen, this sole thought is of the greatest power in attenuating and diluting every trouble; next, because he understands that human fortunes are to be borne in a way befitting human nature; -- lastly, because he sees that there is no evil but guilt, while there is no guilt in the happening of what man could not have prevented.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

For the person who reflects on the nature of things, on the variety of life, and the precarity of human existence is not sad in considering these things but is carrying out the duty of wisdom in the fullest way. For they pursue both in enjoying the particular harvest of philosophy by considering what happens in human life and in suffering adverse outcomes by cleansing with a three-part solace. First, by previously accepting the possibility of misfortune—which is the most way of weakening and managing any annoyance and second, by learning that human events must be endured humanely; and third, by recognizing that there is nothing evil except for blame and there is no blame when the event is something against which no human can endure.
[tr. @sentantiq (2021)]

 
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You’ll “start living tomorrow”? Start living today already, Postumus, you’re running out of time. Anyone with sense started living yesterday.

[Cras vives? hodie iam vivere, Postume, serum est:
Ille sapit, quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 58 (5.58.7-8) (AD 90) [tr. Nisbet (2015)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). See a related sentiment by Martial in 1.15. Alternate translations:

Thou'lt live to morrow? -- 'tis too late to day:
Hee's wise who yesterday, I liv'd, can say.
[tr. Sherburne (1651)]

Thou'lt live tomorrow? -- this day's life's too late:
He's wise that lived before the present date.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

Tomorrow will I live, the fool does say;
Today itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday.
[tr. Cowley (1668), in Hay, "Appendix," ep. 59]

Today to live, ev'n that's too late I say.
The wiseman, Posthumus, liv'd Yesterday.
[tr. Oldmixon (1728)]

You will live, you say, tomorrow; it is late, Posthumus, to live today; he is wise who lived yesterday.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 46, noted as Martial Book 5, ep. 59]

You will live tomorrow: even today it is too late to begin to live. He is the wise man, Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To live today, Postumus, is already too late. He is wise, whoever he be, Postumus, who "lived" yesterday.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Tomorrow": -- nay, do not this moment delay.
The wise man is he who has lived yesterday.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You'll live tomorrow? Now's too late, I say.
He's wise, my Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #255]

Yes, this is what wise Martial says,
Though in another way:
"It's much too late today to live!
The wise lived yesterday!"
[tr. Marcellino (1968), "To a Crass Procrastinator"]

"Tomorrow"? -- Postumus, today's too late.
The wise man, Postumus, lived yesterday.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

Will you live tomorrow? It's already overlate, Postumus, to live today. He is wise, Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Tomorrow? It’s already too late to live today:
He who lived yesterday, Postumus, he is wise.
[tr. Kline (2006)]

Forget tomorrow's teasing long delay.
To make life pleasant, dwell on yesterday.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Will you live then? Today is late already.
He's wise who did his living yesterday.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Believe me, wise men don’t say “I shall live to do that,”
Tomorrow’s life is too late; live today.

 
Added on 13-Aug-21 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 2 (2009)
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The ideal capitalism envisioned by advocates of the free market depends upon social virtues and wise policies that it does not itself generate.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, “Conclusion: Our World” (2015)
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Added on 21-Jul-21 | Last updated 21-Jul-21
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If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
(Attributed)

Broadly attributed to Addison, but possibly a 19th Century creation. The earliest found appearance is in 1854, and the earliest attribution to Addison in in 1862.
 
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Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Theodore Isaac Rubin (1923-2019) American psychiatrist and author
One to One: Understanding Personal Relationships (1983)
 
Added on 24-May-21 | Last updated 24-May-21
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