Whatever authority I may have rests
solely on knowing how little I know.



I think that by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people.  No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom, and happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

In seeking knowledge, the first step is silence, the second listening, the third remembering, the fourth practicing, and the fifth--teaching others.

Solomon Ibn Gabirol

For all people strive to grasp what they do not know, while none strive to grasp what they already know; and all strive to discredit what they do not excel in, while none strive to discredit what they do excel in.  This is why there is chaos.

Chuang Tzu


Any piece of knowledge I acquire today has a value at this moment exactly proportioned to my skill to deal with it.  Tomorrow, when I know more, I recall that piece of knowledge and use it better.

Mark van Doren

The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values.

Dean William R. Inge


Trust yourself.
You know more than you think you do.

Benjamin Spock


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We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us;
and the more we gain, the more is our desire.  The more we see,
the more we are capable of seeing.

Maria Mitchell 
There is a great difference between knowing a thing and understanding it.

Charles Kettering

Knowledge cannot make us all leaders, but it can help us
decide which leader to follow.

Management Digest


I like to have a person's knowledge comprehend
more than one class of topics, one row of shelves.
I like a person who likes to see a fine barn
as well as a good tragedy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For while
knowledge defines all we currently know and understand,
imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.

Albert Einstein

Nothing will divide this nation more than ignorance,
and nothing can bring us together better
than an educated population.

John Sculley

The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

Bertrand Russell

It is impossible for people to learn
what they think they already know.


A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.

Khalil Gibran

For we can only know that we know nothing,
and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Chuang Tzu


To know that we know what we know, and to know
that we do not know what we do not know,
that is true knowledge.


The preservation of the means of knowledge among the
lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than
all the property of the rich men in the country.

John Adams


Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own
governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison


No university on Earth gives master’s degrees of living, of happiness.
How strange!  We seem to be missing the essential, the all-encompassing
knowledge for which universities were originally created!

Robert Muller


The gulf between knowledge and truth is infinite.

Henry Miller


True knowledge is not attained by thinking.
It is what you are; it is what you become.

Sri Aurobindo


Those who would know the world, seek first within your beings' depths;
those who would truly know themselves, develop interest in the world.

Rudolf Steiner

To know how little one knows is to have genuine knowledge.
Not to know how little one knows is to be deluded.  Only
those who know when they are deluded can free themselves
from such delusion.  The intelligent people are not deluded,
because they know and accept their ignorance as ignorance,
and thereby have genuine knowledge.



If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, where is
a person who has so much as to be out of danger?

Thomas Henry Huxley

Human life is limited, but knowledge is limitless.  To drive the
limited in pursuit of the limitless is fatal; and to presume
that one really knows is fatal indeed!

Chuang Tzu

To explore what it would mean to live fully, sensually alive and passionately
on purpose, I have to drop my preconceived ideas of who and what I am.
It is as if the salt of years is running free from me.  Like so many of us,
my head has been stuffed full of knowledge, but something in me is still
starving.  So here, I seek to empty it of the stories, explanations, and
interpretations I am clutching in the fist of my mind.  When did it get so
tightly closed that it became numb?  And what was it holding on to, anyway?
I want it free.  I want my heart and soul free.  Free of and free from.  Free
of struggle, free from doubt in the canyons of my bones, free from running
from the truth of knowing that something has been missing.

Dawna Markova
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life


The essence of true knowledge is self-knowledge.

Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhism Day by Day



Confucius said, "To know what you know and know what you don't know
is the characteristic of one who knows."


Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.  One can
find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it,
but one cannot communicate and teach it.

Herman Hesse


Knowledge is also borrowed.  It is not a flower that grows in your soul,
it is something plastic that has been imposed upon you.



The fruits of the tree of knowledge are various;
they must be strong indeed who can digest all of them.

Mary Coleridge


The larger the island of knowledge, the longer
the shoreline of wonder.

Ralph W. Sockman

Knowing what you know,
be serene also, like a mountain;
and do not be distressed by misfortune.
Knowledge without serenity
is an unlit candle;
together they are honey-comb;
honey without wax is a noble thing;
wax without honey is only fit for burning.

Hakim Sanai

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We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has,
because we know how it is made. We have lost as much
as we gained by prying into that matter.

Mark Twain

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth,
the continents and the oceans was not ignorance
but the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin


No scientist knows the world merely by holding it at arm's length:
if we ever managed to build the objectivist wall between the
knower and the known, we could know nothing except the wall
itself.  Science requires an engagement with the world, a live
encounter between the knower and the known. That encounter has
moments of distance, but it would not be an encounter without
moments of intimacy as well.
Knowing of any sort is relational, animated by a desire to come
into deeper community with what we know.

Parker J. Palmer
The Courage to Teach


What can we make of the inexpressible joy of children? It is a kind of gratitude,
I think—the gratitude of the ten-year-old who wakes to her own energy and the
brisk challenge of the world. You thought you knew the place and all its routines,
but you see you hadn’t known. Whole stacks at the library held books devoted
to things you knew nothing about. The boundary of knowledge receded, as you
poked about in books, like Lake Erie’s rim as you climbed its cliffs. And each
area of knowledge disclosed another, and another. Knowledge wasn’t a body, or
a tree, but instead air, or space, or being—whatever pervaded, whatever never
ended and fitted into the smallest cracks and the widest space between stars.

Annie Dillard
An American Childhood

Our intelligence is trained to believe that any imperfections in the reality resulting
from our activities, such as personal anguish, misery, and fear, simply indicate the
need for improvements in the body of knowledge and/or improvements in tool
production, distribution, and application.  Even as our body of knowledge splits us
off from our lives and creates anxiety and unhappiness, it conditions us to believe
religiously that escape from our misery lies in perfecting that body of knowledge.

Benjamin Hoff
The Te of Piglet


Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge--broad deep
knowledge--is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from
low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked humankind's
progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the
centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward
striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

Helen Keller

When people want to win they will go to desperate extremes.  However, anyone
that has already won in life has come to the conclusion that there is no game.
There is nothing but learning in this life and it is the only thing we take with us to
the grave—knowledge.  If you only understood that concept then your heart
wouldn’t break so bad.  Jealousy or revenge wouldn’t be your ambition.
Stepping on others to raise yourself up wouldn’t be a goal.  Competition would
be left on the playing field, and your freedom from what other people think
about you would light the pathway out of hell.

Shannon L. Alder

Like many others of my culture, I have put great faith is knowledge.  Beneath all of my fears for the future I've wanted to believe that knowledge, the accumulation of information and understanding, would save us from destroying the planet or each other, from medical disaster and natural catastrophes, from the emptiness and grief that is often buried at the center of our busy lives.  I've looked to scientific exploration, psychological analysis, and spiritual questing.  And I have learned a great deal as I've reached for the hoped-for salvation informed by books, educated by schools, guided by gurus, and assisted by surfing the Internet.  It's all there at our fingertips:  subatomic particle behavior, brain synapse mysteries, astronomical phenomena, mantras and mudras, and movements to cleanse and enlighten.  The luminescence of knowledge floods our lives like spotlights in night stadiums, illuminating every corner, every blade of grass and molecule of Astroturf.

It's not that all the learning is wasted.  Like many others, I have over the years gained much insight.  I understand my neuroses, my demons, my illnesses, my patterns in relationship.  And for my diligent efforts I have an arsenal of tested methods for increasing my health, vitality, and awareness.  I am a good student.  I am a tired woman.

And all the while, deep inside, I know what I have always known:  that the knowledge will never be enough.

This is the secret we keep from ourselves.  And the moment it is revealed, we become aware of a need for something else:  for the wisdom to live with what we do not know, what we cannot control, what is painful--and still choose life.

The Invitation