Archive | wisdom

Examine men’s ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue.

Examine men’s ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue. – Marcus Aurelius What does that mean? To me, this is about choosing friends, acquaintances and associates. It asks who they are, and by extension, if they are the kind of people you want to […]

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You can’t buy inner peace or wisdom with money. You have to create them within yourself.

You can’t buy inner peace or wisdom with money. You have to create them within yourself. – Dalai Lama What does that mean? This quote talks about two of the biggest fallacies in the modern developed world. Inner Peace and Wisdom are driving desires for most of us, but so many have no idea how […]

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To you all you have appears small; to me all I have appears great.

To you all you have appears small; to me all I have appears great. – Epictetus What does that mean? This is an interesting quote, as he was born a Roman slave. He learned from an early age that he would not be permitted nice things nor would he have abundance. Rather than become bitter, […]

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A fall into a ditch makes you wiser.

A fall into a ditch makes you wiser. – Chinese Proverb What does that mean? At first you don’t know what a ditch is. Then you fall in. Now you know. You are now wiser, and know to avoid falling into ditches, whenever possible. Life is like that, test first, then the lesson. So the […]

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When anger enters the mind, wisdom departs.

When anger enters the mind, wisdom departs – Thomas à Kempis What does that mean? Anger. In moderation it can be somewhat useful as a motivator. But how rarely is it used in moderation? It seems to run past moderation rather quickly, on the path to excess far too often. That is the warning of […]

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To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution.

To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution. – Marcus Aurelius What does that mean? To me, and my understanding of Stoicism, a closer translation of problem might well be puzzle or challenge. Stoics take the world as it is, and try to deal with it with the minimum fuss. Life, […]

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Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.

Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible. – Saint Augustine What does that mean? What is it with us, that we pursue happiness in so many of the wrong ways? To be happy should be easy, simple and not even remotely confusing. Yet somehow, we manage […]

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What is permissible is not always honorable.

What is permissible is not always honorable. – Cicero What does that mean? As many large societies are based on laws, we tend to focus on what is permissible and what is proscribed, without much thought in regards to why. Yet all groups within any society have things they adhere to because of their beliefs […]

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Wisdom and Folly are taking opposite sides. Which shall I join?

Wisdom and Folly are taking opposite sides. Which shall I join? – Seneca What does that mean? In the letter from which this quote is taken, Seneca is discussing the difference between Stoics and others when it comes to defining man and friend. To a Stoic, all of humanity is a friend, as the motivation […]

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The beginning of wisdom is silence. The second step is listening…

The beginning of wisdom is silence. The second step is listening… – Solomon Ibn Gabirol What does that mean? Sadly, this quote is far too long to fit neatly in a single tweet, and so it has been shortened, and brutally at that. The longer version of the quote is: “In seeking wisdom, the first […]

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Wisdom is not obvious. You must see the subtle and notice the hidden to be victorious.

Wisdom is not obvious. You must see the subtle and notice the hidden to be victorious. – Sun Tzu What does that mean? While this particular quote is about war in specific (see longer version, below), it applies to wisdom in all the different areas of our lives. The longer version: “It does not take […]

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If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires. – Epicurus What does that mean? This is a description of an age old battle. Do we become happy by adding to our riches, or by reducing our desires? It appears in our nature to choose the […]

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It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.

It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. – Epictetus What does that mean? As is common with the limits on length on Twitter, the quote loses a little flavor from being shortened. The longer version is as follows: “What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? […]

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They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. – Confucius What does that mean? To reuse words from the quote, this is about the only constant in life, and that is change. Everything around us is changing, and even we ourselves are changing. If we are to remain constant in our […]

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No man was ever wise by chance.

No man was ever wise by chance. – Seneca What does that mean? Another brutally short and compact quote. I guess he expected people would have to chisel it into stone or something. But seriously, I always like a quote that examines the roots of wisdom. This quote says that wisdom doesn’t come by chance. […]

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