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The Definition of Insanity is…

EinsteinTime for a rant

It drives me crazy when people say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. Pun intended.

The miss-use of a quote along those lines is not just wrong, it reveals ignorance of what a colon does. (The two-vertical-dots kind of colon, not the lower intestine kind.)

Here is the quote — which Einstein said he never said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Here is how that quote is garbled: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over…”

Let’s be clear on something. The definition of insanity is the condition of being insane. The colon in Einstein’s non-quote is presenting a statement, not a definition. If you want to re-word his non-quote without a colon that should be, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane.”

Rant over. Thank you for reading.

One Response to “The Definition of Insanity is…”

  1. MB Deans says:

    My favorite misquote is Thomas Hobbes: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” In reality, the quote is “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    The point was not that consistency is bad, but that getting stuck in a rut is!

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