— Michel De Montaigne, The Complete Essays
Book III, Ch. 1
— Ludwig Wittgenstein Austrian-British philosopher 1889 - 1951
Variant: If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. p. 50e
„In order to succeed it is not necessary to be much cleverer than other people. All you have to do is be one day ahead of them.“
— Leó Szilárd Physicist and biologist 1898 - 1964
As quoted in "Close-up : I'm looking for a market for wisdom. : Leo Szilard, scientist" in LIFE magazine, Vol. 51, no. 9 (1 September 1961), p. 75 Variant: If you want to succeed in the world, you don't have to be much cleverer than other people. You just have to be one day earlier.
„Peter would think her sentimental. So she was. For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying – what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.“
— Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Context: But to go deeper, beneath what people said (and these judgements, how superficial, how fragmentary they are!) in her own mind now, what did it mean to her, this thing she called life? Oh, it was very queer. Here was So-and-so in South Kensington; some one up in Bayswater; and somebody else, say, in Mayfair. And she felt quiet continuously a sense of their existence and she felt what a waste; and she felt what a pity; and she felt if only they could be brought together; so she did it. And it was an offering; to combine, to create; but to whom? An offering for the sake of offering, perhaps. Anyhow, it was her gift. Nothing else had she of the slightest importance; could not think, write, even play the piano. She muddled Armenians and Turks; loved success; hated discomfort; must be liked; talked oceans of nonsense: and to this day, ask her what the Equator was, and she did not know. All the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses; it was enough. After that, how unbelievable death was! — that it must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all.
„I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity people doing stupid things without realising or, instead, thinking they were doing good.“
— Tom Lehrer American singer-songwriter and mathematician 1928
Context: You can make fun with Saddam Hussein jokes … but you can't make fun of, say, the concentration camps. I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity people doing stupid things without realising or, instead, thinking they were doing good.
„You as stupid as they come. Of course, I say this with your best interests at heart. Most people are stupid. I don't hold it against them.“
— Orson Scott Card American science fiction novelist 1951
„Never be so arrogant that you fail to give people the benefit of being as stupid as they actually are.“
— Arthur Jones (inventor) American inventor 1926 - 2007
— James Carville political writer, consultant and United States Marine 1944
In the 1993 documentary film The War Room.
„She didn’t have to believe the technology existed. She only had to believe that people believed the technology existed. People, being stupid, believed all sorts of things.“
— Adam Roberts British writer known for speculative fiction and parody novels; literature and writing academic 1965
Part 2, Chapter 4, “The Mystery of the Champagne Supernovae” (p. 128).