Wisdom is not to be obtained from
textbooks, but must be coined out of
human experience in the flame of life.

Morris Raphael Cohen


Seven characteristics distinguish the wise:  they do not speak in the presence of those wiser than themselves, do not interrupt, are not hasty to answer, ask and answer the point, talk about first things first and last things last, admit when they do not know, and acknowledge the truth.

the Talmud

The wise stand out, because they see themselves as part of the Whole.  They shine, because they don't want to impress.  They achieve great things, because they don't look for recognition.  Their wisdom is contained in what they are, not their opinions.  They refuse to argue, so no-one argues with them.

Lao Tzu

Youth is the time to study wisdom; old age is the time to practice it.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
It is noble to seek truth, and it is beautiful to find it.  It is the ancient feeling of the human heart--that knowledge is better than riches; and it is deeply and sacredly true.

Sydney Smith

You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon.  The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about--the more you have left when anything happens.

Ethel Barrymore


Who is wise?
Those who learn from everyone.

Benjamin Franklin


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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 lessons of great men and women are lost unless they
reinforce upon our minds the highest demands which
we make upon ourselves; they are lost unless they
drive our sluggish wills forward in the direction
of their highest ideas.

Jane Addams


Some have narrowed their minds, and so fettered them with the chains of antiquity
that not only do they refuse to speak save as the ancients spake, but they refuse
to think save as the ancients thought.  God speaks to us, too, and the best thoughts
are those now being vouchsafed to us.  We will excel the ancients!



A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought
without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear
it will go off in your face. . . It is one of the few havens remaining
where a person's mind can get both provocation and privacy.

Edward P. Morgan


Wisdom is not finally tested by the schools,
Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it,
Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.

Walt Whitman


Abundance of knowledge does not teach a person to be wise.




The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James


The seat of knowledge is in the head; of wisdom, in the heart.
We are sure to judge wrong if we do not feel right.

William Hazlitt


A wise person will make more opportunities than he or she finds.

Francis Bacon

Give me wisdom over book knowledge any day.  I've spent many years in college--twelve years as a student and twelve teaching, and I can say without hesitation that I would prefer the company of an unschooled wise man or woman to that of a person who knows much, but feels little.  The two aren't mutually exclusive, of course--many educated people are also wise, and many unschooled people are also unfeeling.  But it seems that the more knowledge we have, the more we tend to look at ourselves as knowing what we need to know, and that couldn't be any further from the truth.

What I need when I talk to people is feedback about my life, about me.  If I'm to advance as a human being and become better (which to me means becoming more useful to my fellow human beings), then I need feedback that helps me to see what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.  I need a wise person to tell me that this person's course of action is ineffective because he or she isn't taking something important into consideration, to tell me that my words were too harsh or too soft for a situation, to tell me that what somebody did to me wasn't at all as I perceived it, but something different entirely.

Most of all, though, I appreciate the examples of the wise--the lives they live and the way they tend to be content with just what they have.  They tend to be much more accepting and understanding, for they see where people are coming from inside--they're able to see past the facades and the attention-getting and know what a person is about.

Wisdom is a quality that I strive after, and I would rather have a pound of wisdom than a ton of knowledge.  It's too late, though--I already have a ton of knowledge, and I'm trying my best to purify it, to take what I need to live a useful life from it and leave the rest behind, so that I may grow in wisdom and thus grow in usefulness to my fellow human beings.  it takes a great deal of maple sap to make maple syrup, and what's not necessary or vital is evaporated as the sap is boiled down.  It's a mistake to think that all of our knowledge is necessary--we need to let some of it evaporate as we search for the wisdom that will most help ourselves and others.

tom walsh


Wisdom sends us back to our childhood.


Wisdom outweighs any wealth.


There is no happiness where there is no wisdom.


Science is organized knowledge.
Wisdom is organized life.

Immanuel Kant

There is a great difference between knowing a thing and understanding it;
you can know a lot and not really understand anything.

Charles F. Kettering

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean
you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.

Edward R. Murrow


Fear is the main source of superstition,
and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell


We can be knowledgeable with other people's knowledge,
but we cannot be wise with other people's wisdom.

Michel de Montaigne


Pure wisdom always directs itself towards God;
the purest wisdom is knowledge of God.

Lew Wallace



Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening
when you'd have preferred to talk.

Doug Larson


The wisdom in the story of the most educated and powerful person
is often not greater than the wisdom in the story of a child,
and the life of a child can teach us as much as the life of a sage.

Rachel Naomi Remen


To have lived long does not necessarily imply the gathering
of much wisdom and experience.  One who has pedaled
twenty-five thousand miles on a stationary bicycle has
not circled the globe. He or she has only garnered weariness.

Paul Eldridge


Preconceived notions are the locks
on the door to wisdom.

Merry Browne

Time ripens all things.
No one is born wise.



The poor long for riches and the rich for heaven,
but the wise long for a state of tranquility.

Swami Rama

Keep the gold and keep the silver, but give us wisdom.

Arabian proverb


If I'm wise, I won't worry about growing old, for I know that
there's a time for everything.  I won't worry about whether
someone likes me or not, for I know that all things can't be.
I won't worry about the things that I don't have, for not
having them diminishes me not one bit.  I won't worry about
the future and regret the past, for I know that only the present
moment truly matters, for it's all that we can live.
  If I'm wise,
I will keep my eyes open and notice things that other people
pass by or dismiss as trivial.  I will stop and smell the flowers
and marvel at the snow and ice.  I will give of myself as much
as I can, knowing that in giving comes our true growth.  I will
be grateful for each new day of life that I receive, for I know
that each day is a gift, and it's up to me
to make something of that gift.

tom walsh

Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.

William Wordsworth

When we are relaxed and reasonable content, we are naturally wise.  We accept
that life is unpredictable, unreliable.  We say jokingly or philosophically, "Nothing is
sure except death and taxes," or "God willing and the creek don't rise," reminding
each other that, notwithstanding the level of planning, we are continually dealing
with being surprised.  We get startled.  We recover.  We are disappointed.
We adjust.  Mostly--with Wisdom intact--we manage.

Sylvia Boorstein


We do not receive wisdom--
we must discover it
for ourselves, after
a journey through the
wilderness which no one
else can make for us,
which no one can spare
us, for our wisdom is
the point of view from
which we come at last
to regard the world.

Marcel Proust


Wisdom is not book learning but, rather, a quality or state of knowing
what is true or right coupled with the judgment to discern
constructive action.  Wisdom is the insight and intuition contained in the
proverbial still, small voice that only a quiet mind can hear and know.

Sue Patton Thoele

Be happy.  It's one way of being wise.


If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then
the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile
soil in which the seeds must grow.

Rachel Carson


Wisdom comes most easily to those who have the courage to embrace life
without judgment and are willing to not know, sometimes for a long time.
It requires us to be more fully and simply alive than we have been taught to
be.  It may require us to suffer.  But ultimately we will be more than we
were when we began.  There is the seed of a greater wholeness in everyone.

Rachel Naomi Remen

I was walking along the river and I saw a little old man.  No teeth--really
what we would call dirty, because we're clean--you know, it's all relative--
drinking a bottle of cheap wine, eating a piece of cheese, with a big grin
on his face.  I almost passed him by.  He said, "Good morning, son."
Anyone who calls me "son" is my buddy.  So I sat down and we started
rapping.  We shared the wine, we shared the cheese, and we also shared
philosophy.  I said to this man "You know, you look so happy and contented
and centered and peaceful.  Do you have a secret to life?"  He said,
without a moment's hesitation, "Indeed, I do."
I said, "Would you share it with me?"
"Of course, son."  He said, "If you want to live happy all of your life, always
keep your mind full and your bowels empty."  Now, there's wisdom!
Nobody asked him to a brain bank!  They should have!

Leo Buscaglia


All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times;
but to make them truly ours, we must think them over and over
again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Delphic Oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks.  It is
because I alone of all the Greeks know that I know nothing.


It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well and justly,
and impossible to live wisely, well and justly without living pleasurably.




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


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The wisdom that comes from having experienced heartbreak cannot
be bequeathed; it can only be gained through experience.  And having
truly felt it, we are far more likely to have compassion for others.  Anything
that takes us close to true compassion takes us closer to what will one day
be an experience of even greater joy.

Marianne Williamson

We see then how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable
than the monuments of power, or of the hands.  For have not the
verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, or more,
without the loss of a syllable or letter; during which time infinite
palaces, temples, castles, cities have been decayed and demolished?

Francis Bacon


There are two goddesses in your heart. The Goddess of Wisdom and
the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first,
and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money.
But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess
of Wisdom, giver her all your love and attention, and the Goddess
of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.

Joe Vigil


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Alone in his car heading west, it's easy for Jason
to feel sorry for himself and mad at the world.  But
then he gives a ride to Hector and learns that life
isn't nearly as negative as we sometimes see it,
and that the prejudice and discrimination that
he's experiencing aren't unique to him--and aren't
impossible to overcome.  The friendship between
this young man and his 70-year-old passenger is
an inspiring story of love and dealing with
obstacles in our lives.    
Book - Kindle



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