Egos are dangerous things. On one hand it's probably good to have confidence in your abilities. Confidence helps your performance in a wide range of endeavors. Studies seem to support that notion.

On the other hand, if you let anyone see your big ego, you're a giant douchebag. So there's that.

I used to think people either have big egos or they don't. But since I adopted a moist robot view of my body, I noticed I can manipulate my ego by manipulating my body chemistry. When my testosterone is high, my ego expands with it. It's simple biology.

I know what spikes my testosterone. It happens primarily through a healthy lifestyle, including sleep, diet, winning and exercise. And you can feel the changes during the day depending on what you're doing. At this point I'll bet I could tell you my relative testosterone levels at any point in my day. When my levels are down, I feel weak and tired and easily defeated. When my levels are high, I think I can do pretty much anything. And I've seen my confidence and self-image completely transform in less than an hour when I intentionally adjust my testosterone levels via my actions.

I long ago abandoned the juvenile idea that people have immutable good and bad traits. The moist robot view is that we can manipulate our traits within surprisingly wide boundaries. And our personalities are fluid during any given day. The angry Scott is nothing like the happy and creative Scott. The horny me is nothing like the satisfied me. So I reject the concept of "me" as some sort of static thing. Instead I see my moist robot container as something I can manipulate to engineer my mood to the situation. There are times when having more ego is useful. There are times when it is better to be humble. I jack my body chemistry as needed.

I have an advantage over most of you because I don't feel embarrassment like a normal human. I couldn't do this job if I did. Today will be a case in point. What follows would be embarrassing for a typical human with normal thresholds of embarrassment. But for a moist robot, it's just an exercise in chemistry adjustment.

Here's my story.

Have you ever heard the saying "You don't know what you don't know"? It's something you sometimes hear in the American business world but it isn't overly common.

I was about to use the saying in a comic and wondered if I was the original author of it. (Ego alert!) So I Googled to see if anyone else had been given credit for it. There's a Socrates quote on a similar theme, but quite different. And at least one other person was wondering about the source of the quote too, which led to a public question on Yahoo. No one else seemed to know the source of the quote either.

So I decided to take credit for it.

This is the sort of thing you do not do when you have socially acceptable levels of humility and the capacity for embarrassment. But moist robots like me are not burdened by such things. To me it was just a button I could push to boost my testosterone. So I did. You can see my claim-grabbing ways here.

I am fully aware that some of you just labelled me an egomaniacal douchebag for claiming authorship of the quote. But doing so jacked up my testosterone. I'm okay with that tradeoff. This moist robot is feeling good and ready to take on the day.


Scott Adams

In other news, now you can add your favorite pro sports schedule to your personal calendar with a few clicks at CalendarTree.com.  (I'm co-founder.) So far we have:

Formula 1


Major League Baseball

FIFA World Cup - Brazil

More on the way...

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Apr 29, 2014
This small investigation is dedicated to Kung-Fu Tzu who
said " To know that you know what you know, and know that
you don't know what you don't know, that is true knowledge."


timed exposure diffusive sampler for air monitoring in
Michaud, Jon-Pierre, M.S.
The University of Arizona, 1989

[Different quote, different meaning. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
Hmm... I wonder if I'm as idiotic when I disagree with you as most of the people in today's comments. I really should think twice before clicking "Post Comment" in the future. Of course... I don't think I've ever posted something supportive or positive and gotten a reply, whereas I get a reply almost every time I say something insulting. So if the point of a celebrity blog is to interact with a celebrity, being a jerk seems the way to win.
Apr 29, 2014
[If people were using it in reference to tests, it doesn't make sense. A test question is something that perhaps you "don't know" but you generally KNOW you don't know it. It isn't something you "don't know that you don't know." -- Scott]

Actually, there are people who are surprised when they discover their answer was wrong.

And, more directly to the point, these are often situations when you discover the depth of your not knowing. I didn't know what I didn't know until I sat for the exam.

What exercises do you perform when you need to turn down the Asperger's?

[You can make it fit that situation, I agree. It just strikes me as too forced to be likely. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
1996 As another former Prime Minister said about the GCSB:
‘You don’t know what you don’t know. The whole thing was a bit of an act
of faith.’

1994: "We tend to teach the way we were taught. When you're not taught certain things, you don't know what you don't !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!

[My first utterance was before Dilbert launched in 1989. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
"You don’t know what you don’t know. Let me repeat that. You don’t know what you don’t know. "


"You don't know what you don't know; never was there a truer sentence ever spoken. "

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know - Noam Chomsky

You Don't Know What You Don't Know (Cleveland State University Poetry Center New Poetry)

What kind of lying egotist couldn't bring himself to google the quote before stealing it?

[I Googled it (obviously) and couldn't find a source earlier than my first use of the word. Neither did you. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
FWIW, I have a vague but strong recollection that one of Tom Clancy's "Jack Ryan" books also uses that phrase, or something very close to it. Well before Rumsfeld used his infamous "known unknowns" speech.

I'll see if I can dig it up when I get home tonight.
+16 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
I claim arbitrary authorship of the "I'm hungry, let's eat" trope.
Apr 29, 2014
I remember Donald Rumsfeld using a very similar comment at a news conference in defense of the Iraq War.

[Sigh. -- Scott]
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
Scott, I'm perfectly clear on the concept of a quote. My most shallow and insincere apologies for not finding an exact quote that predated yours after a thirty second google n-gram search. (Hey, maybe do your own factual research next time?)

If by 1970, Congress is using 'we don't know what we don't know' as a published definition, a non-delusional person realizes it was in the zeitgeist before 1970, and somebody else said it first.

Then again, your entire post (and current life philosophy) is intentional self-delusion: to play make-believe to make yourself feel more successful or powerful (or humble, in cases when that helps you). I should not be surprised that you will not back down from claiming you were the first to say something you clearly did not.
+17 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
@Phantom II

[Scott - here's a news flash:

It's not all about you. And I really don't care.

Unless you're planning to start The Church Of The Boundless Ego, then how you view yourself is a personal matter.]

Whose blog is this?

I think we can give Scott a pass for the occasional 'me' blogpost as long as he doesnt harp on it too much.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
[If people were using it in reference to tests, it doesn't make sense. A test question is something that perhaps you "don't know" but you generally KNOW you don't know it. It isn't something you "don't know that you don't know." -- Scott]


This was in response to not having studied sufficiently, and knowing that they got a number of the questions incorrect. The exact phrase "You don't know what you don't know" was sometimes preceded by the word "well." And it was a counterculture response to kids in the same situation saying "You know what you know" as a resigned acceptance of the surely less than stellar grade they had just earned.

This is the same way that phrases like "I couldn't care less" spawned "I could care less."
Apr 29, 2014
OK, the word that got blanked out was 'h o r n y', in case you're wondering. I hate that auto-censor.
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
On page 2513 of Volume 5 of Hearings of the Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, published in 1970.

"Unknown unknowns - Those things we don't even know we don't know."

Sorry, Scott. You are most assuredly not the progenitor of this quote.

Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=ErliPNzAqMIC&q="unknown unknowns"&dq="unknown unknowns"&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bcpfU8_LBYG-sQSTsIC4BA&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA

[You seem unclear on the whole "quote" concept. -- Scott]
Apr 29, 2014
Scott - here's a news flash:

It's not all about you. And I really don't care.

Unless you're planning to start The Church Of The Boundless Ego, then how you view yourself is a personal matter. You can be the Red Queen of Scottsville, believing six impossible things before breakfast, and it wouldn't matter a hoot to me.

But your ego seems unable to leave this topic alone. Not only does it have to be about you; you seem unable to keep from proselytizing your non-view of your non-universe.

By your own logic, none of it matters because none of it is real. So why keep beating this non-existent dead horse? You're so much more fun when you're not talking about yourself. Look outward, young cartoonist. Expand your horizons! Be fun again!!!

I think this sentence of your post is the most telling: "The !$%*! me is nothing like the satisfied me."

IMHO, you need to get some more satisfaction, if you get my meaning. Time to get your groove on. Call up one of those hot-tub model babes from your Cintiq video, and go for it. Get satisfied, and then maybe you can get back to more of those wacky, canal-laden pipe dreams we know and un-love.

I'm sure that even those of us here who are your most ardent moist-robot acolytes would appreciate that.
Apr 29, 2014
"I believe all unclaimed quotes default back to Mark Twain and/or Yogi Berra." -- Socrates.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
Hell, I used that same quote to comment on your crazy canal idea and I got it from Donald Rumsfeld.
Apr 29, 2014
Does the ego boost still work if you then publicly admit to the world that you're basically lying about this and didn't in fact coin the phrase?

[Is admitting I don't know the same as lying? -- Scott]
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2014
OK, you win: you're a douchebag.
Apr 29, 2014
A lawyer once asked me: "Do you not know or did you once know and have since forgotten?"

Apr 29, 2014
"You don't know what you don't know" -- I think that's one of those phrases which people just assume someone famous said.

Someone has already mentioned that Donald Rumsfeld said it. And then they included a link to quote where he said something similar (about known unknowns, etc) but he clearly did not say "You don't know what you won't know".

The thing about quotations is, they are supposed to be a literal word-for-word repeat of what someone says. You can paraphrase someone, but then you are not quoting them, you are paraphrasing them.

So it could be Scott, that no one well-known has said exactly "You don't know what you don't know" and you can claim credit. It's also likely there was some middle manager in Wyoming who used the exact wording in a boring speech at a boring conference of middle managers.

Famous quotations become famous not just because the quote is good, but because the person referring to the quote wants to be associated with the famous person who said if.

"You don't know what you don't know" -- Scott Adams.
"You don't know what you don't know" -- David "Dave" Davieson.
"You don't know what you don't know" -- Thomas Jefferson.

which one sounds better?

[The first one? -- Scott]
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