I recently ran across a few quotes that I feel worth mentioning here. The first 3 relate to technology, and are noteworthy. The remaining ones deal with stupidity. They may seen overly negative to some, but they are intended to be read with an bit of humor.
Arthur C. Clark’s three “laws” of prediction:
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The 3rd law was rephrased by NASA’s J. Porter Clark into one of my favorite quotes:
“Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.”
A corollary to this is called Hanlon’s razor:
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
And while I’m on the subject, here’s a great quote from Albert Einstein:
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”
Finally, German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord (what a name) shared these observations about the risks of human stupidity:
“I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!”