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Dana anast ke bedanad ke bedanad va beporsad.

Nadan anast ke bedanad ke nadanad va naporsad.

The wise is the one that knows (he or she) knows and asks.

The not wise is the one that knows (he or she) not knows and not asks.

The wise one knows he knows and asks.

The fool knows he does not know and does not ask.

This expression came up in conversation when I was gossiping about someone who was acting very sure of herself on a topic she did not know much about. My grandma told me to remember this phrase, implying that the person we were talking about fits the category of a fool. My grandma was born in a village outside Tehran, where she moved after she got married. In 1986, she moved to the United States.

She explained to me that this proverb emphasizes the importance of checking your work and making sure you’ve done things right. The wise person never takes for granted that he or she is correct, while the fool is not concerned with the truth of whether or not he or she is correct but only concerned with giving the impression that he or she is correct by not challenging his or her ideas.

In addition to this I think it implies that one should always be open to the possibility that one is wrong, especially because the only way to become wise is to fix any mistakes that one has made in the past. It also calls for the continual pursuit of knowledge even where one thinks one has the correct facts, and for the continual pursuit of other opinions.

This proverb separates knowledge from wisdom, which is a very big theme with my grandmother, who always assures me that knowledge is not worth much without wisdom.