Top 10 people who understood Twitter centuries before it was invented

This list began with Professor Tim Bale, who was nominated no 7. This is different from the Top 10 people who would have been good on Twitter.

1. The author of Proverbs 26:4: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.” Related to: “Don’t argue with a fool, or the listener will say there is a pair of you.” Cincinnati Breakfast Tableplay in The Rochester Evening ExpressRochester, New York, 1878. Thanks to Meic Goodyear.

two. Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism: “To know yet to think that one does not know is best; not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.” Tao Te Ching, c.400 BC. From Kartar Uppal.

3. Dish: “When a person supposes that he knows, and does not know, this appears to be the great source of all the errors of the intellect.” sophist, 360 BC. Nominated by Peter Sigrist.

Four. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor 161-180 AD: “Say to yourself first thing in the morning, ‘Today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial.’” Thanks to Stewart Slater. Aurelius also anticipated likes and retweets: “I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on those of others.” Phil Riley pointed out he also reminded us of old tweets never go away: “What we do now echoes in eternity.”

5. julius caesar: “Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.” Act III scene 2. Thanks to Sonia Nolten.

6. Jonathan Swift: “Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.” A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately Enter’d Into Holy Orders by a Person of Quality1721. Nominated by Conor Downey

7. David Hume: “Disputes with men, pertinaciously obstinate in their principles, are, of all others, the most irksome; except, perhaps, those with persons, entirely disingenuous, who really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage in the controversy, from affectation, from a spirit of opposition, or from a desire of showing wit and ingenuity, superior to the rest of mankind. The same blind adherence to their own arguments is to be expected in both; the same contemplation of their antagonists; and the same passionate vehemence, in forcing sophistry and falsehood.” An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals1751. Tim Bale started with this one.

8. George HomeBishop of Norwich: “Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity 30 pages to answer.” Letters on Infidelity, 1786. He went on: “When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.” Nominated by Kevin Hague.

9. Samuel Johnson: “I have found you an argument: I am not obliged to find you an understanding.” The Life of Samuel JohnsonJames Boswell, 1791. Twitter’s mission statement, according to Richard Nabavi and Dunderheid.

10. humpty dumpty: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking-Glass1871. I am prepared to round up 151 years to “centuris”.

Next week: Political rows that seemed huge at the time but now seem oddly quaint, such as the pasty tax (thanks to Matt Chorley).

Coming soon: Fake deaths.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to [email protected]

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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