On How Wisdom is Knowing That You Don’t Know

“Some things you can’t find out; but you will never know you can’t by guessing and supposing; no, you have to be patient and go on experimenting until you find out that you can’t find out.”
-Mark Twain, Eve’s Diary

Give it time, you’ll eventually know how much it is that you’ll never know.

You’ll then have taken the first halting steps toward wisdom.

On Remaining Curious

“If there wasn’t anything to find out, it would be dull. Even trying to find out and not finding out is just as interesting as trying to find out and finding out; and I don’t know but more so.”
-Mark Twain

It’s impossible to know everything, and dangerous to think you do. But to remain curious, there’s the thing.

And if wanting to know as much about everything as you can doesn’t make the world a more interesting place, it might make you more interesting to the world.  

On Truth and the Public Trust

The Pen and the Sword - Which is Mightier?When an honest writer discovers an imposition it is his simple duty to strip it bare and hurl it down from its place of honor, no matter who suffers by it; any other course would render him unworthy of the public confidence.
-Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

The writer is best when he is the impostor’s worst enemy.

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On Elections, Politics, and Human Nature

“If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.”
Mark Twain, Autobiography

Elections reflect the highest ideals of society, executed by the lowest means of human nature.  

On Justice – Sweet and Terrible

”The rain …falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain’s affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.”
-Mark Twain

It doesn’t always seem as if everyone gets the justice they deserve, whether it be the sweet justice of a life well-lived or the terrible kind descending down upon the heads of the mean and wicked.

We may not always think it right, but justice, like the rain, will find its way – and will fall upon everyone’s head eventually.



On War and Its Endless Justifications

“We build a fire in a powder magazine, then double the fire department to put it out. We inflame wild beasts with the smell of blood, and then innocently wonder at the wave of brutal appetite that sweeps the land as a consequence.”
-Mark Twain, 1907 speech

It’s the same old story. Playing with fire and wondering why it burns.