A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
It’s April Fools’ Day, so anything you read on the Internet today should be taken with a grain of salt. Actually, that’s probably true every day and it’s probably not in your best interest to automatically take everything at face value. Someone might tell you that they got hired by The New York Times or something. Only fools would believe that story.
Some people might say that it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” I disagree. If you are truly wise, then you also recognize the limits of your wisdom. And you also know that the only way you can really expand your knowledge base and gain a greater understanding of the world around you is to ask questions.
And yes, you might look pretty foolish asking what some people might deem to be a foolish question. But what about all the fools who were thinking the exact same question but were too afraid to speak up for themselves? In a similar vein, legendary playwright William Shakespeare once said:
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Put another way, you could say that the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. Or you know how smart people constantly doubt themselves, whereas “the stupid ones are full of confidence.” How confident are you in your intelligence and wit? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
In a recent episode of StarTalk Radio, your personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said something similar. He explained how as the circle of your knowledge grows, so does the perimeter of your ignorance. It’s such a striking visual! And as scientists and as curious human beings in general, our job is to dip our toes just past that edge and into the incredible vastness of the unknown. Only fools would stay inside the circle, right?
Happy April Fool’s Day! But these quotes are real, at least as far as I know. No foolin’.