The truth is this:  none of the gods loves wisdom [] or desires to become wise []; for they are wise already.

, Nor does anyone else who is wise love wisdom.

, Neither do the ignorant love wisdom, or desire to become wise,

for this is the harshest thing about ignorance, that those who are neither good [] nor beautiful [] nor sensible [] think that they are good enough.

No one desires what they are lacking when they do not think themselves lacking.

Plato, Symposium, 203E-204A, Lysis, Symposium, Gorgias, translated by W.R.M. Lamb, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1925, 1991, pp. 182-183, translation modified.

The Master said, "To know when you know,
and when you do not know;
that is wisdom."

Confucius, Analects II:17, translation after James Legge [1893], Arthur Waley [1938], D.C. Lau [1979], and Joanna C. Lee [2010]

At the simplest level, only people who know they do not know everything will be curious enough to find things out.

Virginia Postrel, The Future and Its Enemies, p.88 [The Free Press, 1998]

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit, The Errors of Socialism, p.78 [University of Chicago Press, 1988, 1991; cf. Socratic Ignorance]

Editorial Essays

Confucius said, "Those born wise, are the highest. Next come those who become wise by learning. Next again come those who learn with difficulty. They who do not learn even with difficulty, those people are the lowest."

Confucius, Analects XVI:9, translation after James Legge [1893], Arthur Waley [1938], and D.C. Lau [1979]

E perché e' sono di tre generazioni cervelli -- l'uno intende da sé, l'altro discerne quello che altri intende, el terzo non intende né sé né altri -- quel primo è eccellentissimo, el secondo eccellente, el terzo inutile...

Minds are of three kinds:  one is capable of thinking for itself; another is able to understand the thinking of others; and a third can neither think for itself nor understand the thinking of others. The first is of the highest excellence, the second is excellent, and the third is worthless.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince [Daniel Donno translation, Bantam, 1981, p. 80], Italian text, Il Principe, Nuova edizione a cura di Giorgio Inglese [Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino, 2013 e 2014, pp.166-167]

Nor need we fear that this [Sceptical] philosophy, while it endeavours to limit our enquiries to common life, should ever undermine the reasonings of common life, and carry its doubts so far as to destroy all action, as well as speculation. Nature will always maintain her rights, and prevail in the end over any abstract reasoning whatsoever. Though we should conclude, for instance, as in the foregoing section, that, in all reasonings from experience, there is a step taken by the mind which is not supported by any argument or process of the understanding; there is no danger that these reasonings, on which almost all knowledge depends, will ever be affected by such a discovery.

David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section V, Part I, p. 34 [L.A. Shelby-Bigge, editor, Oxford University Press, 1902, 1972, p. 41]

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