„You foolish man, you do not understand your own foolish business.“

Attributed to Chesterfield by George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover, in his 1833 edition of Horace Walpole's letters to Sir Horace Mann, such statements have been attributed to many others, such as Lord Chief Justice Campbell, William Henry Maule (in the form "You silly old fool, you don't even know the alphabet of your own silly old business"), Sir William Harcourt, Lord Pembroke, Lord Westbury, and to an anonymous judge, and said to have been spoken in court to Garter King at Arms, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, or some other high-ranking herald, who had confused a "bend" with a "bar" or had demanded fees to which he was not entitled. George Bernard Shaw uses it in Pygmalion (1912) in the form, "The silly people dont [sic] know their own silly business." Similar remarks occur in Charles Jenner's The Placid Man: Or, The Memoirs of Sir Charles Beville (1770): "Sir Harry Clayton ... was perhaps far better qualified to have written a Peerage of England than Garter King at Arms, or Rouge Dragon, or any of those parti-coloured officers of the court of honor, who, as a great man complained on a late solemnity, are but too often so silly as not to know their own silly business." "Old Lord Pembroke" (Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke) is said by Horace Walpole (in a letter of 28 May 1774 to the Rev. William Cole) to have directed the quip, "Thou silly fellow! Thou dost not know thy own silly business," at John Anstis, Garter King at Arms. Edmund Burke also quotes such a remark in his "Speech in the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, Esq." on 7 May 1789: "'Silly man, that dost not know thy own silly trade!' was once well said: but the trade here is not silly."
Disputed

Philip Stanhope Chesterfield Foto
Philip Stanhope Chesterfield11
britischer Diplomat 1694 - 1773

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„To be enthusiastic about doing much with human nature is a foolish business indeed; and, throwing himself into his work as he was doing, and expecting so much from it, would not the tide ebb as strongly as it was flowing? It is a rash game this setting our hearts on any future beyond what we have our own selves control over.“

—  James Anthony Froude, buch The Nemesis of Faith

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Kontext: To be enthusiastic about doing much with human nature is a foolish business indeed; and, throwing himself into his work as he was doing, and expecting so much from it, would not the tide ebb as strongly as it was flowing? It is a rash game this setting our hearts on any future beyond what we have our own selves control over. Things do not walk as we settle with ourselves they ought to walk, and to hope is almost the correlative of to be disappointed.

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„If you don't understand other people in their time and why they did what they did, then you don't understand your own past. And when you lose your past, you lose some potential for your own future.“

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Kontext: When the legend is retold, it mirrors the reality of the time, and one can learn from studying how various authors have attempted to retell the story. I don't think we have an obligation to change it radically. I think that if we ever move too far from the basic story, we would lose something very precious. I don't, for instance, approve of fantasy that attempts to go back and rewrite the Middle Ages until it conforms to political correctness in the twentieth century. That removes all the benefit from reading the story. If you don't understand other people in their time and why they did what they did, then you don't understand your own past. And when you lose your past, you lose some potential for your own future.

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„If you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.“

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„You silly old fool, you don't even know the alphabet of your own silly old business.“

—  William Henry Maule British politician 1788 - 1858

Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 86. The quotation has been attributed to many others, such as Lord Chief Justice Campbell, Lord Chesterfield, Sir William Harcourt, Lord Pembroke, Lord Westbury, and to an anonymous judge, and said to have been spoken in court to Garter King at Arms, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, or some other high-ranking herald, who had confused a "bend" with a "bar" or had demanded fees to which he was not entitled. George Bernard Shaw quotes it in Pygmalion (1912) in the form, "The silly people dont [sic] know their own silly business."

Maule cannot be the original source of the quotation, as it is quoted nearly twenty years before his birth in Charles Jenner's The Placid Man: Or, The Memoirs of Sir Charles Beville (1770): "Sir Harry Clayton ... was perhaps far better qualified to have written a Peerage of England than Garter King at Arms, or Rouge Dragon, or any of those parti-coloured officers of the court of honor, who, as a great man complained on a late solemnity, are but too often so silly as not to know their own silly business." "Old Lord Pembroke" (Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke) is said by Horace Walpole (in a letter of May 28, 1774 to the Rev. William Cole) to have directed the quip, "Thou silly fellow! Thou dost not know thy own silly business," at John Anstis, Garter King at Arms (though in his 1833 edition of Walpole's letters to Sir Horace Mann, George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover, attributes the saying to Lord Chesterfield in a footnote, in the form "You foolish man, you do not understand your own foolish business"). Edmund Burke also quotes it ("'Silly man, that dost not know thy own silly trade!' was once well said: but the trade here is not silly.") in a "Speech in the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, Esq." on May 7, 1789 (when Maule was just over a year old). Chesterfield or Pembroke fit best in point of time.
Attributed

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Kontext: Communication is — start by understanding — your own understanding about people. Even though you want them to understand you, you know, it is — unless you understand people, it is almost impossible. Don't you think so? Only when you understand people, they may understand you. So even though you do not say anything, if you understand people there is some communication.

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