Quotes on Knowledge

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Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Should one name one central concept, a first principle, of cybernetics, it would be circularity.
We are most of us governed by epistemologies that we know to be wrong.
Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
We cannot address complexity without using our own complexity.
There may be things that are completely unknowable to us, so we must be careful not to treat the limits of our knowledge as sure guides to the limit of what there is.
If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.
An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them.
A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest.
What we need now is the description of the “describer” or, in other words, we need a theory of the observer.
What is the pattern that connects the crab to the lobster and the primrose to the orchid, and all of them to me, and me to you?
Something that cannot be explained cannot be seen.
Without context words and actions have no meaning at all.
If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
Non esiste nulla all'infuori del Tutto.
What you can imagine depends on what you know.
The recognition of the difference between appearance and reality is a human discovery.
I do look for openings where I can overturn popular misconceptions, but unlike Christopher Hitchens, I am neither a contrarian nor a lone heretic. I like to have a significant number of academics watching my back.
First-order cybernetics is the science of observed systems; Second-order cybernetics is the science of observing systems.
The map is not the territory (coined by Alfred Korzybski), and the name is not the thing named.
Even the most vaunted experts are susceptible to wishful thinking and can be blinded to a truth by a conviction that is supported more by emotional attachment than reason.
We commonly speak as though a single 'thing' could 'have' some characteristic. A stone, we say, is 'hard,' 'small,' 'heavy,' 'yellow,' 'dense,' etc. That is how our language is made: 'The stone is hard.' And so on. And that way of talking is good enough for the marketplace: 'That is a new brand.' 'The potatoes are rotten.' 'The container is damaged.'... And so on. But this way of talking is not good enough in science or epistemology. To think straight, it is advisable to expect all qualities and attributes, adjectives, and so on to refer to at least -two- sets of interactions in time....Language continually asserts by the syntax of subject and predicate that 'things' somehow 'have' qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the 'things' are produced, are seen as separate from other 'things,' and are made 'real' by their internal relations and by their behaviour in relationship with other things and with the speaker. It is necessary to be quite clear about the universal truth that whatever 'things' may be in their pleromatic and thingish world, they can only enter the world of communication and meaning by their names, their qualities and their attributes (i. e., by reports of their internal and external relations and interactions).
The only profitable conversations are with enthusiasts who have ceased being so, with the ex-naïve. Calmed down at last, they have taken, willy-nilly, the decisive step toward knowledge, that impersonal version of disappointment.
Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders.
One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.
The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.
The only answer to the endless chains of why, why, why is that the alternatives died.
We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.
The thinkers of the Enlightenment sought a new understanding of the human condition. The era was a cornucopia of ideas, some of them contradictory, but four themes tie them together: reason, science, humanism, and progress.
We can never be quite clear whether we are referring to the world as it is or to the world as we see it.
There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
You don't have to travel around the world to understand that the sky is blue everywhere.
If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.
He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.
Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification. 
Gossip is certainly one of the things that language is useful for, because it's always handy to know who needs a favor, who can offer a favor, who's available, who's under the protection of a jealous spouse. And being the first to get a piece of gossip is like engaging in insider trading: You can capitalize on an opportunity before anyone else can.
It's natural to think that living things must be the handiwork of a designer. But it was also natural to think that the sun went around the earth. Overcoming naive impressions to figure out how things really work is one of humanity's highest callings.
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
Activity is the only road to knowledge.
The shape of the response must meet the shape of the trouble.
Remember your math: an anecdote is not a trend.
Light is so empowering that it serves as the metaphor of choice for a superior intellectual and spiritual state: enlightenment.
Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.
I don't know where my expertise is; my expertise is no disciplines. I would recommend to drop disciplinarity wherever one can. Disciplines are an outgrowth of academia. In academia you appoint somebody and then in order to give him a name he must be a historian, a physicist, a chemist, a biologist, a biophysicist; he has to have a name. Here is a human being: Joe Smith -- he suddenly has a label around the neck: biophysicist. Now he has to live up to that label and push away everything that is not biophysics; otherwise people will doubt that he is a biophysicist. If he's talking to somebody about astronomy, they will say "I don't know, you are not talking about your area of competence, you're talking about astronomy, and there is the department of astronomy, those are the people over there," and things of that sort. Disciplines are an aftereffect of the institutional situation.
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
Interesting phenomena occur when two or more rhythmic patterns are combined, and these phenomena illustrate very aptly the enrichment of information that occurs when one description is combined with another.
It takes two to know one.
Academics lack perspective. In a debate on whether the world is round, they would argue, 'No,' because it's an oblate spheroid. They suffer from 'the curse of knowledge': the inability to imagine what it's like not to know something that they know.
You are not made to live as beasts but to follow virtue and knowledge
There is a strong tendency in explanatory prose to invoke quantities of tension, energy, and whatnot to explain the genesis of pattern. I believe that all such explanations are inappropriate or wrong.
Any curriculum will be pedagogically ineffective if it consists of a lecturer yammering in front of a blackboard, or a textbook that students highlight with a yellow marker. People understand concepts only when they are forced to think them through, to discuss them with others, and to use them to solve problems.
Multiple descriptions are better than one.
Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading man, and studying all the various editions of them.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. 
58 quotes