Tag Archives: Proverbs

The Counsel of Many

The following quotes are from The Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai (1700s):

And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. (p17)

People think that they can clear up profound matters if they consider them deeply, but they exercise perverse thoughts and come to no good because they do their reflecting with only self-interest at the center. (p18)

We learn about the sayings and deed of the men of old in order to entrust ourselves to their wisdom and prevent selfishness.  When we throw off our own bias, follow the sayings of the ancients, and confer with other people, matters should go well and without mishap. (p19)

These reminded me of the psychology studies showing the pervasiveness of self-deception and also reminded me of a Bible saying that I have often quoted: “In the counsel of many is much wisdom.”  But when I tried to look up the Bible passage, I could not find it.  Nonetheless, I found many Christian sites which, like me, felt it was a direct Biblical quote.  Though phrased differently, here are some verses from the book of  Proverbs which relay the same wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.
–Proverbs 1:5

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.
— Proverbs 12:15

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
— Proverbs 15:22

List to counsel and receive instructions, that you may be wise in your latter days.
— Proverbs 19:20

Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.
— Proverbs 24:6

Question to Readers:

  • Bible Misquote: Any Bible geeks reading this?  Does anyone know where that wording came from and how it got changed?  I’d be curious.  I must be from a famous movie, novel or sermon.    Hmmmmm?
  • Blogger Disease:  Do you think bloggers are more prone or less prone to staying outside the counsel of many?
  • Shared Wisdom:  What do you feel about quoting similar passages from widely different traditions?


Filed under Philosophy & Religion