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Error Quotes

Quotes tagged as "error" Showing 1-30 of 280
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities

Aldous Huxley
“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.”
Aldous Huxley

Alexander Pope
“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”
Alexander Pope

Veronica Roth
“Human reason can excuse any evil.”
Veronica Roth, Divergent

Thomas Jefferson
“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.”
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

Vera Nazarian
“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Bertolt Brecht
“The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.”
Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo

Robert Byrne
“To err is human, to purr is feline.”
Robert Byrne, The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said

Alexander Pope
“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!”
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

E.A. Bucchianeri
“Errors do not cease to be errors simply because they’re ratified into law.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly,

Victoria Schwab
“He was like one of those pictures full of small errors, the kind you could only pick out by searching the image from every angle, and even then, a few always slipped by. On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normal, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate's face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other's skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.”
Victoria Schwab, Vicious

Robert M. Pirsig
“The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you actually don’t know.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

“We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.”
Arne Tiselius

Robert  Burns
“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion.”
Robert Burns, The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns

Al Franken
“Mistakes are a part of being human. Precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.”
Al Franken

Jared Diamond
“[T]he values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.”
Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Mahatma Gandhi
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does the truth become error because nobody will see it.

(Young India 1924-1926)”
Mahatma Gandhi

Kathryn Schulz
“To err is to wander and wandering is the way we discover the world and lost in thought it is the also the way we discover ourselves. Being right might be gratifying but in the end it is static a mere statement. Being wrong is hard and humbling and sometimes even dangerous but in the end it is a journey and a story. Who really wants to stay at home and be right when you can don your armor spring up on your steed and go forth to explore the world True you might get lost along get stranded in a swamp have a scare at the edge of a cliff thieves might steal your gold brigands might imprison you in a cave sorcerers might turn you into a toad but what of what To fuck up is to find adventure: it is in the spirit that this book is written.”
Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

Jules Verne
“Science, my lad, has been built upon many errors; but they are errors which it was good to fall into, for they led to the truth.”
Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Charles Darwin
“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
Charles Darwin, More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol 2

Jared Diamond
“People often ask, "What is the single most important environmental population problem facing the world today?" A flip answer would be, "The single most important problem is our misguided focus on identifying the single most important problem!”
Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Georges Canguilhem
“To err is human, to persist in error is diabolical.”
Georges Canguilhem, Ideology and Rationality in the History of the Life Sciences

Arrian
“Most people, if they know they have done wrong, foolishly suppose they can conceal their error by defending it, and finding a justification for it; but in my belief there is only one medicine for an evil deed, and that is for the guilty man to admit his guilt and show that he is sorry for it. Such an admission will make the consequences easier for the victim to bear, and the guilty man himself, by plainly showing his distress at former transgressions, will find good grounds of hope for avoiding similar transgressions in the future.”
Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander

Criss Jami
“The first reaction is surely the most natural one, but not always the most correct one; thereupon, the invention of apologies.”
Criss Jami, Healology

Thomas Henry Huxley
“The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Collected Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley

Will Advise
“And now, for something completely the same:

Wasted time and wasted breath,
's what I'll make, until my death.
Helping people 'd be as good,
but I wouldn't, if I could.

For the few that help deserve,
have no need, or not the nerve,
help from strangers to accept,
plus from mine a few have wept.

Wept from joy, or from despair,
or just from my vengeful stare.
Ways I have, to look at stupid,
make them see I am not Cupid.

Make them see they are in error,
for of truth I am a bearer.
Most decide I'm just a bear,
mauling at them, - like I care.”
Will Advise, Nothing is here...

René Descartes
“Whence then come my errors? They come from the sole fact that since the will is much wider in its range and compass than the understanding, I do not restrain it within the same bounds, but extend it also to things which I do not understand: and as the will is of itself indifferent to these, it easily falls into error and sin, and chooses the evil for the good, or the false for the true.”
René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche
“Life no argument. - We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live - by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody now could endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions of life might include error.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Thomas Jefferson
“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Kathryn Schulz
“As all this suggests our relationship with evidence is seldom purely a cognitive one. Vilifying menstruating women bolstering anti-Muslim stereotypes murdering innocent citizens of Salem plainly evidence is almost always invariably a political social and moral issue as well. To take a particularly stark example consider the case of Albert Speer minister of armaments and war production during the Third Reich close friend to Adolf Hitler and highest-ranking Nazi official to ever express remorse for his actions. In his memoir Inside the Third Reich Speer candidly addressed his failure to look for evidence of what was happening around him. "I did not query a friend who told him not to visit Auschwitz I did not query Himmler I did not query Hitler " he wrote. "I did not speak with personal friends. I did not investigate for I did not want to know what was happening there... for fear of discovering something which might have made me turn away from my course. I had closed my eyes."


Judge William Stoughton of Salem Massachusetts became complicit in injustice and murder by accepting evidence that he should have ignored. Albert Speer became complicit by ignoring evidence he should have accepted. Together they show us some of the gravest possible consequences of mismanaging the data around us and the vital importance of learning to manage it better. It is possible to do this: like in the U.S. legal system we as individuals can develop a fairer and more consistent relationship to evidence over time. By indirection Speer himself shows us how to begin. I did not query he wrote. I did not speak. I did not investigate. I closed my eyes. This are sins of omission sins of passivity and they suggest correctly that if we want to improve our relationship with evidence we must take a more active role in how we think must in a sense take the reins of our own minds.


To do this we must query and speak and investigate and open our eyes. Specifically and crucially we must learn to actively combat our inductive biases: to deliberately seek out evidence that challenges our beliefs and to take seriously such evidence when we come across it.”
Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

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