Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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Quote of the Day: “When nothing is known, anything is possible”

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When nothing is known, anything is possible

I shared this quote yesterday in my reflection about Thanksgiving, but I didn’t go into where it came from.

As with many quotes that are axiomatic truths, they probably don’t have a single source of where it came from to spread to everyone else, and they also don’t have a single way of being said.  For example, some references on the Internet suggest that the more common saying is “when nothing is certain everything is possible”, but that appears to actually be untrue, where the most common citation of the idea seems to come from Margaret Drabble‘s novel The Middle Ground from 1980, where she wrote:

When nothing is sure, everything is possible.

But, what of the variation I shared? (which I think is actually more correct from a Bayesian epistemological point of view)  It actually came before Margaret Drabble’s work, where in a 1967 publication called “Take One”, in volumes 1 and 2, by an author that I can’t determine (due to the darn “snippet view” of Google Books), it was written:

When nothing is known, anything is possible and authenticity becomes a function of the imagination.

So the question is now that more is known about the origin of this quote, does that mean less is possible?

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Written by Jacob Walker

November 29th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

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