“If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said," Alan Greenspan to reporters in 1987.
“Since I’ve become a central banker, I’ve learned to mumble with great coherence,” Alan Greenspan said to reporters in 1987.
学而不思则罔， 思而不学则殆： Learning without thought means labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.
Other Chinese sayings regarding cyclicality:
物极必反：Extremes breed reversals (fortunes change)
乐极生悲：Extreme joy begets sorrow
剥级比复：Fortune goes from one extreme to another
A related but different concept is that of the Golden Mean (中庸):
The Master [Confucius] said, The virtue embodied in the doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people.
Socrates, born a mere 10 years after Confucius passed away in the 5th century BC, also taught that a man "must know how to choose the mean and avoid the extremes on either side, as far as possible."
An instructive thought given the state of political discourse in certain parts of the world today.
From Thucydides's Melian Dialogue:
"You know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
Athenians to the Melians, History of The Peloponnesian War (5th century BC)
When out of means, seek change. Then opportunities will come.
“You are not defined simply by what you own. You are also what you share. That should be our credo for the century to come.”
Charles Leadbeater, writer for the Financial Times.
Here's an interesting talk Leadbeater gave on education innovation in the slums of Brazil and East Africa:
Zi Gong asked: "Is there a word with which we should act in accordance throughout our lifetime?"
Confucius replied: "It is 'forgiveness'. Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you."
(Analects of Confucius Chapter 15)
Mend the roof while the weather is fine, dig the well before you're thirsty. Some old wisdom to live by.
The parable of the blind men and the elephant originated in ancient India, and is a part of the Jain, Buddhist, Hindu and Sufi teachings. While this analogy is now in relatively common usage, Henry Mintzberg et.al. in Strategy Safari pointed out that not many have actually read John Godfrey Saxe's poem from the 1870s that popularized the story in the English language:
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!