„Gertrude knew better than this, of course, but we all know better than we know better, or act as if we did.“

—  Randall Jarrell, Chapter 3, p. 100
Randall Jarrell207
poet, critic, novelist, essayist 1914 - 1965
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„We all not only have better intimations, but are capable of better things than we know.“

—  Albert Pike Confederate States Army general and Freemason 1809 - 1891
Context: We all not only have better intimations, but are capable of better things than we know. The pressure of some great emergency would develop in us powers, beyond the worldly bias of our spirits; and Heaven so deals with us, from time to time, as to call forth those better things. There is hardly a family so selfish in the world, but that, if one in it were doomed to die—one, to be selected by the others,—it would be utterly impossible for its members, parents and children, to choose out that victim; but that each would say, "I will die; but I cannot choose." And in how many, if that dire extremity had come, would not one and another step forth, freed from the vile meshes of ordinary selfishness, and say, like the Roman father and son, "Let the blow fall on me!" There are greater and better things in us all, than the world takes account of, or than we take note of; if we would but find them out. Ch. XXII : Grand Master Architect, p. 191

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„It is better of course to know useless things than to know nothing.“

—  Tom Stoppard British playwright 1937
Source: Seneca, Epistle 88, as seen in the following: "You may sweep all these theories in with the superfluous troops of 'liberal' studies; the one class of men give me a knowledge that will be of no use to me, the other class do away with any hope of attaining knowledge. It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing. One set of philosophers offers no light by which I may direct my gaze toward the truth; the other digs out my very eyes and leaves me blind." Seneca: Epistle 88 http://www.stoics.com/seneca_epistles_book_2.html#%E2%80%98LXXXVIII1

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„It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing.“

—  Seneca the Younger Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist -4 - 65 a.C.
Letter LXXXVIII: On liberal and vocational studies, line 45.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan photo

„We must respect our own dignity as rational beings and thus diminish the power of fraud. It is better to be free than be a slave, better to know than to be ignorant.“

—  Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President and the second President of India 1888 - 1975
Context: We must respect our own dignity as rational beings and thus diminish the power of fraud. It is better to be free than be a slave, better to know than to be ignorant. It is reason that helps us to reject what is falsely taught and believed about God, that He is a detective officer or a capricious despot or a glorified schoolmaster. It is essential that we should subject religious beliefs to the scrutiny of reason.

„The present generation believes that it knows more about Jesus Christ than any preceding generation knew. Yet we are equally confident that our grandchildren's children will understand Jesus far better than we do.“

—  Kirby Page American clergyman 1890 - 1957
Context: The present generation believes that it knows more about Jesus Christ than any preceding generation knew. Yet we are equally confident that our grandchildren's children will understand Jesus far better than we do. There is something more in him than we have been able to fathom. p. 43

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„What we call knowing a man's character, is knowing how he will act in such and such conditions. The better we know him the more surely we can prophesy. If we know him perfectly, we are certain.“

—  James Anthony Froude English historian, novelist, biographer, and editor of Fraser's Magazine 1818 - 1894
Context: It is alike self-contradictory and contrary to experience, that a man of two goods should choose the lesser, knowing it at the time to be the lesser. Observe, I say, at the time of action. We are complex, and therefore, in our natural state, inconsistent, beings, and the opinion of this hour need not be the opinion of the next. It may be different before the temptation appear; it may return to be different after the temptation is passed; the nearness or distance of objects may alter their relative magnitude, or appetite or passion may obscure the reflecting power, and give a temporary impulsive force to a particular side of our nature. But, uniformly, given a particular condition of a man's nature, and given a number of possible courses, his action is as necessarily determined into the course best corresponding to that condition, as a bar of steel suspended between two magnets is determined towards the most powerful. It may go reluctantly, for it will still feel the attraction of the weaker magnet, but it will still obey the strongest, and must obey. What we call knowing a man's character, is knowing how he will act in such and such conditions. The better we know him the more surely we can prophesy. If we know him perfectly, we are certain. Fragments of Markham's notes

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„I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.“

—  H.L. Mencken American journalist and writer 1880 - 1956
Context: I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking. I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious. I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty and the democratic form is as bad as any of the other forms. I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect. I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech — alike for the humblest man and the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society. I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run. I believe in the reality of progress. I —But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant. "What I Believe" in The Forum 84 (September 1930), p. 139; some of these expressions were also used separately in other Mencken essays.

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„Right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right.“

—  Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor 748 - 814
"De Litteris Colendis", in Jean-Barthélemy Hauréau De la philosophie scolastique (1850) p. 10; translation from T. H. Huxley Science and Education ([1893] 2007) p. 132; in Latin, Quamvis enim melius sit benefacere quam nosse, prius tamen est nosse quam facere.

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„We want better reasons for having children than not knowing how to prevent them.“

—  Dora Russell author, feminist, socialist campaigner 1894 - 1986
Context: We want better reasons for having children than not knowing how to prevent them. Nor should we represent motherhood as something so common and easy that everyone can go through it without harm or suffering and rear her children competently and well. Hypatia (1925), Ch. 4

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