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Intelligence Quotes That Will Get Your Mind Going

These intelligence quotes refer to everything from logical reasoning, common sense, and intelligent life forms!

What exactly does intelligence mean? Does the amount of education a person has equate to their intelligence level or is it an innate thing that you are born with?

The dictionary defines intelligence as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” Another definition focuses on the ability to adapt and retain information. There have been many other definitions though and people kind of use a blend of them all together!

Some of these quotes about intelligence come from some of the most genius minds, like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. There are also quotes that come from some of the best writers and poets the world has ever known.

Keep reading to find out what qualities intelligent people usually share. There are even quite a few intelligence quotes that question the intelligence of others and will make you laugh!

Don’t forget to also check out these logic quotes to boost your brain power.

Intelligence quotes on intelligent life

1. “Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.” — Bill Watterson

2. “I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.” — Stephen Hawking

3. “Perhaps we’ve never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there’s no sign of intelligent life.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

4. “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.” — Stephen Hawking

5. “Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence.” — Richard Dawkins

6. “If this is the only planet on which not only life, but intelligent life, has arisen, that would be very unusual.” — Seth Shostak

7. “I would argue that in any habitable zone that doesn’t boil or freeze, intelligent life is going to emerge because intelligence is convergent.” — Simon Conway Morris

8. “It would be selfish to believe that we are the only intelligent life in the universe.” — Kerli

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9. “What we expect to find, certainly in our own solar system, are probably simple single or multiple-cell forms of life. To get to intelligent life takes stability of conditions over huge, long periods of time.” — Ellen Stofan

Intelligence quotes from writers and poets

10. “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” ― Oscar Wilde

11. “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” ― Maya Angelou

12. “You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” ― Frank McCourt

13. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

14. “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.” — Ernest Hemingway

15. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” — Ernest Hemingway

16. “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” — George Orwell

17. “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” — George Orwell

18. “All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

19. “Education is no substitute for intelligence.” ― Frank Herbert

20. “An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.” — Victor Hugo

21. “Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn’t understood.” ― Wei Hui

22. “The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.” — Marya Mannes

Intelligence quotes from philosophers and great minds

23. “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” — Socrates

24. “A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

25. “It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” ― Albert Einstein

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26. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

27. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” — Stephen Hawking

28. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch

29. “Common sense is not so common.” — Voltaire

30. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

31. “The intelligent man is one who has successfully fulfilled many accomplishments and is yet willing to learn more.” — Ed Parker

32. “I think that intelligence is such a narrow branch of the tree of life – this branch of primates we call humans. No other animal, by our definition, can be considered intelligent. So intelligence can’t be all that important for survival, because there are so many animals that don’t have what we call intelligence, and they’re surviving just fine.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Profound, yet short, intelligence quotes

33. “It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

34. “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” ― J. Krishnamurti

35. “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” ― Antonio Gramsci

36. “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” ― Walter H. Cottingham

37. “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” — Roger Ebert

38. “If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

39. “An intelligent person is never afraid or ashamed to find errors in his understanding of things.” — Bryant H. McGill

40. “Successful leaders surround themselves with intelligent people.” — Richard Ojeda

41. “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” ― Walter Cronkite

Funny intelligence quotes that will make you laugh

42. “He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.” ― P.G. Wodehouse

43. “The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.” ― Terry Pratchett

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44. “People have confused playing devil’s advocate with being intelligent.” — Cecily Strong

45. “I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” — Johannes Kepler

46. “How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.” — Alexandre Dumas

47. “It’s remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.” — Charlie Munger

48. “The difference between stupid and intelligent peopleand this is true whether or not they are well-educatedis that intelligent people can handle subtlety.” — Neal Stephenson

49. “It is not worth an intelligent man’s time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that.” — G. H. Hardy

50. “The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.” — Simone Weil

What did you learn from these intelligence quotes?

When you think about the smartest (or most intelligent) people you know can you recognize any common traits?

Intelligent people don’t always have their noses buried in books (although many do love to read), but what they are always doing is learning.

They seek out new information all the time, whether that is through formal education or just grabbing a book and learning how to do it. Another thing you might notice is that they also seem to have a good grip on their emotions and display a high degree of emotional intelligence.

Most likely, the people you think are intelligent are also aware of what they do not know. They are aware of what they need to learn more about and will let you know if they don’t know the answer. Then they will most likely go seek the information out. They are often highly adaptable and can make the most out of whatever situation they find themselves in.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these intelligence quotes and sayings? Can you think of other qualities that you associate with intelligence? Let us know in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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