Ignorance

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Ignorance is the condition of being uninformed or uneducated; i.e., lacking knowledge or information.

Quotes[edit]

  • Be ignorance thy choice, where knowledge leads to woe.
  • A large segment of the American public is sadly deficient in its knowledge of basic business and economic facts of life. The media, which many people say are their primary sources of their business and economic info, do not appear to be making any significant impact on this ignorance.
    • Frank Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation in 1984 (source: No Comment!. p. 59. ISBN 0275928209. ).
  • For "ignorance is the mother of devotion," as all the world knows.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section IV. Memb. 1. Subsect. 2. Phrase used by Dr. Cole, Disputation with the Papists at Westminster, March 31, 1559. Quoted from Cole by Bishop Jewel, Works, Volume III, Part II, p. 1202. Quoted as a "Popish maxim" by Thomas Vincent, Explicatory Catechism, Epistle to the Reader (c. 1622). Said by Jeremy Taylor, To a person newly converted to the Church of England (1657). Same found in New Custome. I. I. A Morality printed 1573. (True devotion).
  • The truest characters of ignorance
    Are vanity, and pride, and annoyance.
  • A truly refined mind will seem to be ignorant of the existence of anything that is not perfectly proper, placid, and pleasant.
    • Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Ch. 5 - Something Wrong Somewhere (1855-1857).
  • To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
  • Ignorance never settles a question.
  • Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.
  • Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.
  • There are, however, some potentates I would kill by any and all means at my disposal. They are Ignorance, Superstition, and Bigotry — the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.
    • Emma Goldman, responding to audience questions during a speech in Detroit (1898); as recounted in Living My Life (1931), p. 207; quoted by Annie Laurie Gaylor in Women Without Superstition, p. 382.
  • To each his suff’rings; all are men,
    Condemn’d alike to groan,—
    The tender for another’s pain,
    Th’ unfeeling for his own.
    Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
    Since sorrow never comes too late,
    And happiness too swiftly flies?
    Thought would destroy their paradise.
    No more; where ignorance is bliss,
    ’T is folly to be wise.
    • Thomas Gray, repr. In Poetical Works, ed. J. Rogers (1953). Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, stanza 10 (written 1742, published 1747). [[1]]
  • Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
  • Scientia non habet inimicum nisi ignorantem
    • Knowledge has no enemy except an ignorant man
    • George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (1589), excerpted and translated in Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric

(edited by Wayne A. Rebhorn)

  • If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
  • Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.
  • He that voluntarily continues ignorant is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces.
    • Samuel Johnson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 336.
  • So long as the mother, Ignorance, lives, it is not safe for Science, the offspring, to divulge the hidden causes of things.
  • Ignorance plays the chief part among men, and the multitude of words; but opportunity will prevail.
  • He said that there was one only good, namely, knowledge; and one only evil, namely, ignorance.
    • Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, "Socrates", xiv
    • Variant: The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.
  • He declared that he knew nothing, except the fact of his ignorance.
  • Bring your ignorance to the Holy Spirit, the great teacher, who by His precious truth will lead you into all truth.
    • William Paton Mackay, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 337.
  • To be ignorant of one's own ignorance is to be in an unprogressive, uninspired state of existence.
  • It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.
    • Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill
  • There are three degrees of comparison: stupido, stupidissimo, and tenore.
    • Pietro Mascagni, in Scott Beach, Musicdotes, (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1977), p. 94.
  • The living man who does not learn, is dark, dark, like one walking in the night.
    • Ming-hsin pao-chien ("Precious Mirror for Enlightening the Heart") (compiled c. 1393 by Fan Li-pen). Translation for Chinese Repository by Dr. William Milne.
  • All wisdom is folly that does not accommodate itself to the common ignorance.
  • Knowledge and truth may be in us without judgment, and judgment also without them; but the confession of ignorance is one of the finest and surest testimonies of judgment that I know.
  • People who don't know any better will always be in the dark because the power lies in the hands of men who take good care that ordinary folk don't understand, in the hands, that is, of the government, of the clerical party, of the capitalists.
  • From ignorance our comfort flows.
    The only wretched are the wise.
  • Ignorance is death. A closed mind is a catafalque.
    • Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998), p. 69.
  • If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face.
    • Zack de la Rocha, "Settle for Nothing", Rage Against the Machine (album), 1992.
  • Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
    • Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945), Book Three, Part II, Chapter XXI: Currents of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, p. 722.
  • "Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!"
  • If one neglects the laws of learning, a sentence is imposed that he is forever chained to his ignorance.
  • Ignorance is the mother of devotion.
  • Blind and naked Ignorance
    Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed,
    On all things all day long.
  • I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
    • Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act I, spoken by Lady Bracknell (1895).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 385-86.
  • Causarum ignoratio in re nova mirationem facit.
    • In extraordinary events ignorance of their causes produces astonishment.
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 22.
  • Ignoratione rerum bonarum et malarum maxime hominum vita vexatur.
    • Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed.
    • Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, I. 13.
  • Non me pudet fateri nescire quod nesciam.
    • I am not ashamed to confess that I am ignorant of what I do not know.
    • Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. I. 25. 60.
  • Ignorance seldom vaults into knowledge, but passes into it through an intermediate state of obscurity, even as night into day through twilight.
  • Ignorance never settles a question.
  • Mr. Kremlin himself was distinguished for ignorance, for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.
  • For your ignorance is the mother of your devotion to me.
  • Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.
  • Ignorance is the dominion of absurdity.
  • Often the cock-loft is empty, in those whom nature hath built many stories high.
  • Es ist nichts schrecklicher als eine thätige Unwissenheit.
  • And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
  • Where ignorance is bliss,
    'Tis folly to be wise.
    • Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742), Stanza 10. Same idea in Euripides, Fragment. Antip, XIII.
  • Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XI, line 153. Pope's translation.
  • It was a childish ignorance,
    But now 'tis little joy
    To know I'm further off from heaven
    Than when I was a boy.
  • Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance.
    • Samuel Johnson, in reply to the lady who asked why "pastern" was defined in the dictionary as "the knee of the horse." Boswell's—Life. (1755).
  • Rien n'est si dangereux qu'un ignorant ami:
    Mieux vaudrait un sage ennemi.
    • Nothing is so dangerous as an ignorant friend; a wise enemy is worth more.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, VIII. 10.
  • A man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty.
    • John Locke, Human Understanding, Book I, Chapter II.
  • But let a man know that there are things to be known, of which he is ignorant, and it is so much carved out of his domain of universal knowledge.
  • Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
    The lowest of your throng.
  • Quod latet ignotum est; ignoti nulla cupido.
    • What is hid is unknown: for what is unknown there is no desire.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 397.
  • It is better to be unborn than untaught: for ignorance is the root of misfortune.
  • Etiam illud quod scies nesciveris;
    Ne videris quod videris.
    • Know not what you know, and see not what you see.
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, II. 6. 89.
  • From ignorance our comfort flows,
    The only wretched are the wise.
  • Illi mors gravis incubat qui notus nimis omnibus ignotus moritur sibi.
    • Death presses heavily on that man, who, being but too well known to others, dies in ignorance of himself.
    • Seneca, Thyestes, CCCCI.
  • Madam, thou errest: I say, there is no darkness, but ignorance; in which thou art more puzzled, than the Egyptians in their fog.
  • The more we study, we the more discover our ignorance.
  • Omne ignotum pro magnifico est.
    • Everything unknown is magnified.
    • Tacitus, Agricola, XXX. Quoting Galgacus, the British leader, to his subjects before the battle of the Grampian Hills. Ritter says the sentence may be a "marginal gloss" and brackets it. Anticipated by Thucydides, Speech of Nicias, VI. 11. 4.
  • * * Where blind and naked Ignorance
    Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed,
    On all things all day long.
  • Homine imperito nunquam quidquid injustius,
    Qui nisi quod ipse facit nihil rectum putat.
    • Nothing can be more unjust than the ignorant man, who thinks that nothing is well done by himself.
    • Terence, Adelphi, I. 2. 18.
  • Ita me dii ament, ast ubi sim nescio.
    • As God loves me, I know not where I am.
    • Terence, Heauton timoroumenos, II. 3. 67.
  • Namque inscitia est,
    Adversum stimulum calces.
    • It is consummate ignorance to kick against the pricks.
    • Terence, Phormio, I. 2. 27.

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