Help me remember this quotation...
May 2, 2013 8:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember a quotation. It might be from an ancient philosopher or a saint. Someone says to him something like, "How do you know how to do the right thing?" And his response is, "I observe the people around me doing the wrong things, and I do the opposite." That's a very rough recollection, and not enough for Google to help. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
posted by southern_sky to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
George Costanza?
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Are you sure this is it? I recall something very similar in structure and feel but it concerned words, not deeds: something to the effect of how the way to sound intelligent was to think of stupid things and not say them. I cannot think of the source for that, though.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:29 PM on May 2, 2013

I'm pretty sure I've seen a quote from Dwight from the Office that was similar.
posted by gilsonal at 8:59 PM on May 2, 2013

I'm pretty sure I've seen a quote from Dwight from the Office that was similar.

"What is the most inspiring thing I ever said to you?"

"'Don't be an idiot.' Changed my life. Whenever I'm about to do something, I think: 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing."
posted by John Cohen at 9:47 PM on May 2, 2013

Play around with searchquotes and you might find it. Here's a couple that are close.

If someone gives you so-called good advice, do the opposite; you can be sure it will be the right thing nine out of ten times.
- Anselm Feuerbach

I have made it so perfectly clear in my tracts, articles, and books what was to be done that all Parliament has had to do was read my works and do the opposite.
- George Bernard Shaw
posted by mono blanco at 12:58 AM on May 3, 2013

The Mamet movie Heist contains the opposite way of saying this.

Joe Moore: I tried to imagine a fella smarter than myself. Then I tried to think, "what would he do?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:10 PM on May 3, 2013

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