„Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.“

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Eihei Dogen2
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Quintilian photo

„Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish.“

—  Quintilian ancient Roman rhetor 35 - 96
De Institutione Oratoria (c. 95 AD), Qui stultis videri eruditi volunt stulti eruditis videntur. Book X, Chapter VII, 21 See also: An X among Ys, a Y among Xs

Cato the Elder photo

„Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.“

—  Cato the Elder politician, writer and economist (0234-0149) -234 - -149 a.C.
Plutarch's Life of Cato Variant: Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.

Plutarch photo
Paul of Tarsus photo

„If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.“

—  Paul of Tarsus, livro First Epistle to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)

Terence photo
Ralph Waldo Emerson photo

„Our instinct uses "more" and "less" in application to man, of the presence of the soul, and not of its absence; the brave man is greater than the coward; the true, the benevolent, the wise, is more a man, and not less, than the fool and knave.“

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson American philosopher, essayist, and poet 1803 - 1882
1840s, Essays: First Series (1841), Compensation, Context: We feel defrauded of the retribution due to evil acts, because the criminal adheres to his vice and contumacy, and does not come to a crisis or judgment anywhere in visible nature. There is no stunning confutation of his nonsense before men and angels. Has he therefore outwitted the law? Inasmuch as he carries the malignity and the lie with him, he so far deceases from nature. In some manner there will be a demonstration of the wrong to the understanding also; but should we not see it, this deadly deduction makes square the eternal account. Neither can it be said, on the other hand, that the gain of rectitude must be bought by any loss. There is no penalty to virtue; no penalty to wisdom; they are proper additions of being. In a virtuous action, I properly am; in a virtuous act, I add to the world; I plant into deserts conquered from Chaos and Nothing, and see the darkness receding on the limits of the horizon. There can be no excess to love; none to knowledge; none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense. The soul refuses limits, and always affirms an Optimism, never a Pessimism. His life is a progress, and not a station. His instinct is trust. Our instinct uses "more" and "less" in application to man, of the presence of the soul, and not of its absence; the brave man is greater than the coward; the true, the benevolent, the wise, is more a man, and not less, than the fool and knave. There is no tax on the good of virtue; for that is the incoming of God himself, or absolute existence, without any comparative. Material good has its tax, and if it came without desert or sweat, has no root in me, and the next wind will blow it away. But all the good of nature is the soul's, and may be had, if paid for in nature's lawful coin, that is, by labor which the heart and the head allow. I no longer wish to meet a good I do not earn, for example, to find a pot of buried gold, knowing that it brings with it new burdens. I do not wish more external goods, — neither possessions, nor honors, nor powers, nor persons. The gain is apparent; the tax is certain. But there is no tax on the knowledge that the compensation exists, and that it is not desirable to dig up treasure. Herein I rejoice with a serene eternal peace. I contract the boundaries of possible mischief. I learn the wisdom of St. Bernard, — "Nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault."

Joseph Heller photo
Francis Bacon photo
Derren Brown photo
Democritus photo

„The friendship of one wise man is better than the friendship of a host of fools.“

—  Democritus Ancient Greek philosopher, pupil of Leucippus, founder of the atomic theory
Source Book in Ancient Philosophy (1907)

John Ruskin photo

„A little group of wise hearts is better than a wilderness full of fools.“

—  John Ruskin English writer and art critic 1819 - 1900
The Crown of Wild Olive, lecture III: War, section 114 (1866).

William Shakespeare photo
Anatole France photo
Bruce Lee photo
Edward Young photo

„Be wise with speed;
A fool at forty is a fool indeed.“

—  Edward Young English poet 1683 - 1765
Love of Fame (1725-1728), Satire II, l. 282.

Francois Rabelais photo
Oliver Wendell Holmes photo

„Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way, — and the fools know it.“

—  Oliver Wendell Holmes Poet, essayist, physician 1809 - 1894
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858), Context: Do you think I don't understand what my friend, the Professor, long ago called the hydrostatic paradox of controversy? Don't know what it means? - Well, I will tell you. You know, that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way, — and the fools know it.

Edward Teller photo

„There's no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.“

—  Edward Teller Hungarian-American nuclear physicist 1908 - 2003
As quoted in "Nuclear Reactions", by Joel Davis in Omni (May 1988)

John Donne photo

„Who are a little wise, the best fools be.“

—  John Donne English poet 1572 - 1631
The Triple Fool, stanza 2

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“