Those Who Know Do Not Speak, Those Who Speak Do Not Know

The phrase “those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know” is not abundantly common conversationally, however, we may have come across it in writings. Considering that this phrase is rather uncommon, the true meaning of this phrase may be unknown to some. 

What Does “Those Who Know Do Not Speak, Those Who Speak Do Not Know” Mean? 

The meaning behind the phrase “those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know” is that those who know and understand, don’t feel the need to boast or broadcast it. However, those who talk loudly about their point of view are generally intellectually insecure.

Those Who Know Do Not Speak, Those Who Speak Do Not Know

Essentially, this means that the more you know about something, the better off you are in understanding how little you know about the entire picture, how much deeper something goes, etc. Yes, this does mean you are knowledgeable and wise about a topic, but you do not profess or proclaim to be a master. 

This is often because you can recognize that there are others more knowledgeable than yourself, or that we always have room to grow and learn. Someone who knows, will also only speak about something when it is asked of them, as opposed to spouting off their opinions unnecessary. This is considered to be a very positive aspect that an individual can possess and practice. 

On the other hand, someone who does not truly understand this will often claim to be extremely proficient, or a master of something. These are folks who will often speak the loudest or the most. Because of this, they are generally unaware of the reality of a situation, or how their opinions, comments, etc., can impact the learning process of others. This is viewed as a very negative aspect that a person can possess. 

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Who Said “Those Who Know Do Not Speak, Those Who Speak Do Not Know”? 

The saying “those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know” is attributed to and believed to originate from the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. It is believed that he lived during the 6th century BC, and he is considered the father of Chinese Taoism. 

It is also believed that Lao Tzu is the original author of the book “Tao Te Ching”, which is a fundamental text for both religious and philosophical Taoism. The original text of this quote reads as follows

“Those who don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, and settle your dust. This is the primal identity, be like the Tao. It can’t be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honored or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures.” 

The quote is also sometimes seen or written as “he who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know”. This particular version of the Lao Tzu quote still shares a consistent meaning with the original and should not be cause for confusion. 

Similar Quotes 

We will now be going over some similar quotes to “those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know”. These quotes share a very similar meaning and could easily be used in place of the original Lao Tzu quote. 

Other Quotes: 

  • “Empty vessels make the most noise.” 
  • “The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.” 
  • “Any man who must say ‘I am the king’, is no true king at all.” 
  • “People with brains the size of peas, have mouths the size of watermelons.” 
  • “My intuition is sharp. I’ll always find building relationships with righteous people more productive than battling egos and small minds.” 
  • “Arrogance requires advertising, confidence speaks for itself”. 
  • “Those who speak the loudest, often have nothing to say”. 
  • “Empty pockets have never held anyone back. Only an empty mind or an empty heart can do that.” 

Final Thoughts 

“Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know”, is expressing that those who are the most knowledgeable, understand their reality and that they still have room to grow. Contrastingly, those who speak the loudest are often blinded by arrogance and still have much to learn.