Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceQuotations · 1 decade ago

What does this mean? "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,?

adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divine"

im really trying to understand this but i just dont get it

please help

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Too much consistency, which you usually find in people who are not creative thinkers and choose to stick to what is known and constantly done, cuts off the flow of progress through fresh ideas and differing viewpoints. These little statesmen, philosophers and clergy cling to what they know and are familiar with, rather than expanding their vision to include new thoughts and methods.

    • wynn6776 years agoReport

      Generally, I believe it also means that we have the right to change our minds. In going with hickcrazy1, this refers to present- and past- day politicians who refuse to open their minds and consider another point of view and change their minds despite substantial evidence to the contrary.

  • ferree
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Hobgoblin Definition

  • 1 decade ago

    Usually people think consistency is a good thing, related to being reliable and trustworthy. But there are times when trying to force things that aren't really alike to be alike (consistent) is a bad thing. So the quote says when you're trying to foolishly be consistent you are giving in to a bad impulse (a hobgoblin) that shows you have a little mind --- that you can't think for yourself.

    Maybe an odd example, but I have 2 kids fairly far apart in age. One of their grandmothers will take them shopping and she'll only spend the exact amount on each one. That's being consistent, that's being fair --- right? If she spent more on one than the other, that would be bad (or so she thinks).

    But --- the 4 year old doesn't need much to make her happy. Some candy, a plastic car --- $5 worth of stuff. When you buy her $15 worth of stuff, she gets overwhelmed. The 14 year old, wants clothes, and video games, and things that often cost more than $15. So she isn't even all that interested in these grandma shopping trips, although she's always polite about it.

    So grandma, is well meaning, but being foolishly consistent in this case. Does grandma have a "little mind"? She's my mother, so I shouldn't go further, but what do you think?

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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    RE:

    What does this mean? "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,?

    adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divine"

    im really trying to understand this but i just dont get it

    please help

    Source(s): foolish consistency hobgoblin minds: https://tr.im/A8fFZ
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  • 6 years ago

    Close but no cigar: 40Acres has it exactly. It means "People who make every decision on the basis of consistency are demonstrating that they are not very smart." The author gives examples of statesmen and philosophers but this could apply to anyone who does not get that equal is not always fair and treating everyone the same is not always just or practical because people and their situations are not all the same.

    • dennis4 years agoReport

      It just simply means consistency in character, but flexibility in your thinking.

  • 6 years ago

    People with big minds do things with consistency

  • 6 years ago

    This is often misquoted, what Emerson really meant is that a well-reasoned consistency is the hallmark of a rational mind.

    • dennis4 years agoReport

      I agree, the emphasis should be on the word foolish, not saying that consistency is foolish. Our character should be consistent but we should be wisely consistent in our thinking and actions. And that does not preclude being flexible in the latter two.

  • 4 years ago

    Same as the definition of crazy...

    Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.

    Ron

  • 1 decade ago

    maybe it means people who do dumb things consistently have evil golbins in there heads?

    Source(s): my brain
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