A wise man knows he knows nothing

…but if he knows nothing how does he know. Some more proverbial paradoxes:

  • ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ but ‘actions speak louder than words’
  • ‘Faith will move mountains’ but ‘doubt is the beginning of wisdom’
  • ‘Clothes make the man’ but ‘never judge a book by its cover’
  • ‘All good things come to those who wait’ but ‘time waits for no man’
  • ‘Birds of a feather flock together’ but ‘opposites attract’
  • ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ but ‘he who hesitates is lost’
  • ‘Wise men think alike’ but ‘fools seldom differ’

3 responses to “A wise man knows he knows nothing

  1. A paradox has no one “right” answer and is common in both Eastern philosophy AND quantum physics. Zen students are asked to contemplate the sound of “one hand clapping” while in physics, light has properties of both particles and waves ( how can a wave “frequency” have “particles”?)
    Since there is no one single answer to a paradox, Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is instructive. It places the answer in the hands of the “observer” (commenter) by proving that “reality” is relative to the observer’s frame of reference.
    For some commenters, “wise men think alike”, while to others, “fools seldom differ”. Both viewpoints are “useful” (explain the physical world) based on observations.

    • You remind me of when I was studying wave-particle duality at school. Not easy to understand when you are 16.

      You explain it well. So wisdom is relative and not absolute. I do worry a little that proverbs, while useful, can be used to make a point of view seem ‘right’ and discourage thinking for ourselves. Highlighting the paradox makes us consider where we stand.

  2. These are some awesome things to wonder about!!

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