Intelligence Quotes

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.

Angela's Ashes

Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes

Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.


Virginia Woolf


A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment

A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.

Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.

I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.

It is one thing to be clever and another to be wise.

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.


Friedrich Nietzsche


I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being--forgive me--rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.

Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection.

belief is the death of intelligence.

Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.

He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.

It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White
Argument    Control    Dispute    Empowerment    Intelligence    Men    Self control    Superiority    Wit    Women

The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.


Terry Pratchett

Crowds    Intelligence    Mob rule    Mobs    People

I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.

I don't know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn't make you happy.

Franny and Zooey

J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey

Ms. Wormwood: Calvin, can you tell us what Lewis and Clark did?
Calvin: No, but I can recite the secret superhero origin of each member of Captain Napalm's Thermonuclear League of Liberty.
Ms. Wormwood: See me after class, Calvin.
Calvin: [retrospectively] I'm not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.

The more stupid one is, the closer one is to reality. The more stupid one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence squirms and hides itself. Intelligence is unprincipled, but stupidity is honest and straightforward.

Education is no substitute for intelligence.

I used to think that finding the right one was about the man having a list of certain qualities. If he has them, we'd be compatible and happy. Sort of a checkmark system that was a complete failure. But I found out that a healthy relationship isn't so much about sense of humor or intelligence or attractive. It's about avoiding partners with harmful traits and personality types. And then it's about being with a good person. A good person on his own, and a good person with you. Where the space between you feels uncomplicated and happy. A good relationship is where things just work. They work because, whatever the list of qualities, whatever the reason, you happen to be really, really good together.

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn't understood.

Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons,and to make weapons - a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind.

Beauty fades, dumb is forever.

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

The first men to be created and formed were called the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, the Sorcerer of Night, Unkempt, and the Black Sorcerer … They were endowed with intelligence, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all that is around them, and they contemplated in turn the arc of heaven and the round face of the earth … [Then the Creator said]: 'They know all … what shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth!… Are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods?

Popol Vuh


Popol Vuh
Creation    Creation myth    Earth    Gods    Heaven    Intelligence    Knowledge    Sight

I can normally tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am.

[I]f we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex.

My favourite definition of an intellectual: 'Someone who has been educated beyond his/her intelligence.
Sources and Acknowledgements
: Chapter 19]

Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.

Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.

De Principatibus / Il Principe

Niccolò Machiavelli

De Principatibus / Il Principe

Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.

Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.

I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.


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