Need the definition of Arab proverb: The wise man speaks of ideas, the middling man of actions, the fool of persons


I could not find this attributed as an Arab proverb.  Several sources gave the author as "unknown."  In several other sources it is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (Oct 11, 1884-Nov 7, 1962), but without definite citation, and Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, U.S.Navy (Jan 27, 1900-July 8, 1986), who acknowledged quoting it, but did not claim to be the author of the statement.  However, several sources claim Henry Thomas Buckle, (Nov 24, 1821-May 29, 1862).  He was an English historian and author of A History of Civilization. 

Mr Buckle is quoted in Conversation: What to Say and How to Say it, by Mary Greer Conklin, New York, NY; Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1912, page 179, and Charles Stewart  wrote the following in Haud immemor. Reminescences of legal and social life in Edinburgh and London. 1850-1900, 1901, p 33. 

...[Buckle's] thoughts and conversations were always on a high level, and I recollect a saying of his which not only greatly impressed me at the time, but which I have ever since cherished as a test of the mental calibre of friends and acquaintances.  Buckle said, in his dogmatic way: "Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons, the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas."

  • Last Updated Jan 14, 2019
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