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Naivety – definition, quotes and a poem



According to Wikipedia ‘naïve’ is a French loanword indicating having or showing a lack of experience, understanding or sophistication. In early use, it meant natural or innocent, and did not connote ineptitude.

Extracted from Wikipedia: “.... In the sciences, and technical professions, it is used to refer to a lack of experience with a specific stimulus... and does not carry broader negative connotations about the individual. In computer science a naïve algorithm is one that is correct and simple, but not efficient.”



Naive is my second name. It looks kind of arty – MartieNaiveCoetser. Or perhaps I should adopt it as my first name – NaiveMartieCoetser.

Naivety is the sole reason for all the hard knocks I’ve received in my life. Since the day I was born I was like a child strolling alone in the city without any awareness of danger. I believe in the goodness of all people and all that exists. I trust that Good will always prevail.

And this is why I find myself most of the time in trouble and desperately busy to defend myself.  

Can I get rid of this devastating characteristic? NO.

Naivety is not a habit, but a distinguishing feature of one’s personal nature. One is born naïve and will die naïve.

Unfortunately there is only one step between naivety and stupidity. 


Some quotes referring to naivety:



  • Every true genius is bound to be naïve. ~ Friedrich Schiller.
  • I can get away with saying a lot of ideas that are young and naïve. I'm liberated. ~ Neil Young.
  • I might have some character traits that some might see as innocence or naïve. That's because I discovered peace and happiness in my soul. And with this knowledge, I also see the beauty of human life. ~ Tobey Maguire.  
  • I was naïve enough to think that I could make the difference. ~ David Gest.
  • I'm too busy acting like I'm not Naïve. I've seen it all, I was here first. ~ Kurt Cobain.
  • It is well for the heart to be naïve and the mind not to be. ~ Anatole France.
  • It's no good being nice and young and naïve. There's no good in that at all. You've got to do it all yourself, and you've gotta learn quick. And you can't look for sympathy either. ~ Johnny Rotten.
  • Once the amateur's naïve approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur. ~ Alfred Eisenstaedt.
  • Scientists often have a naïve faith that if only they could discover enough facts about a problem, these facts would somehow arrange themselves in a compelling and true solution. ~ Theodosius Dobzhansky.  
  • The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget. ~ Thomas Szasz.
  • To be able to write a play a man must be sensitive, imaginative, naïve, gullible, passionate; he must be something of an imbecile, something of a poet, something of a liar, something of a damn fool. ~ Robert E. Sherwood.
  • We confess our bad qualities to others out of fear of appearing naïve or ridiculous by not being aware of them. ~ Gerald Brenan,


How can I protect myself against dangers?

I should be afraid of the unknown.

A naïve person is also a courageous person. S/he will dare where no devils will. Therefore the naïve has to learn how to be afraid.

My comprehension of fear: It is merely a negative description for RESPECT – the other side of the coin.

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When one regards God inter alia as ‘THE UNKNOWN’, the 'Never To Understand', the 'Never to See', it is not so difficult to fear without feeling like a coward.

Fear then becomes easier for stubborn Christians when they ponder over Proverbs 1:7 - The fear (respect) of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.


A Poem



Baby picks up the scorpion

Not knowing it is alive

Tasting it eagerly

to get stung vengefully.  


Child believes implicitly -

trusting the tooth-mouse,

Father Christmas and Jesus –

To be disappointed endlessly.  


Adolescent so arrogant

Believes bad struck only others

His lien on wisdom

is thin air on a cloud.  

Naive dare where no devils will

to find what she thinks

she needs to survive ‘till

Death finds her.  


Does God have a word about this?

What about -

Matthew 18:3 – “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”



Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 14, 2012:

Sunnie, I enjoyed your comment tremendously... every word so very true. We are on the same page, my sista :)) I rather live with disappointments in my memory as with the knowledge that I've done anything at the expense of someone else.

I am, however, very able to deal with a person who disappoints me. He/she WILL sooner of later realize it was a mistake to take liberties of my naivety; they will regret what they have done to me, not because they feel sorry for me, but because they feel sorry for themselves, living without my admiration. I will, however, always treat them with respect while I loathe them in my heart - a kind of hate that taste bitter in my mouth and forces me to stay out of their way and to keep them out of my mind.

Thank you so much, Sunnie, for your lovely, profound comment.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 14, 2012:

Lol! Sunshine, well, we do know ourselves, don't we?. We know exactly when we are a genius and when we are a fool. I must say, I had the most interesting and exciting experiences in my life while I was a fool.

Thank you for always-always making me smile :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 14, 2012:

jonmcclusk, thank you for reading and commending :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 14, 2012:

Poetic Fool, I have tried my best to distrust every person I meet, but distrusting others is not one of my tendencies. So I've lived for more than a decade like a hermit, alone with the characters I created for my stories. Only my children and lover were welcome in my personal zone. But eventually, at the bottom of depression, I realized that I need social interaction with other people. (A topic I should write about).

BUT, I have finally learned to trust my gut feeling, which is not my emphatic and compassionate heart and also not my brain who will minimize and rationalize until my heart gets its longings fulfilled.

"Listen to your gut feeling!" became my motto since I was conned by a damn punk (glorified bum) - in fact, he is a dangerous narcissist cum sociopath - who pretended (and still do) to be a gospel preacher on the Internet...

LISTEN to your gut feeling! It doesn't tell you whether a person is good or bad, but it certainly tells you whether a person will have a good or bad effect on you.

Thank you for your insightful comment.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 13, 2012:

Oh, SanneL, I've made peace with my naïve Self. I will always be too eager to believe what others tell me; I want to believe everything; I want to believe that people are honest and worthy to be trusted... Even though I know they are not, I am always willing to give them a chance to prove themselves as true and good. So I know I will be disappointed until the day I die.

Sunnie Day on April 12, 2012:

This was so thought provoking, I loved this hub Martie so much. I have been called Naïve at times but I have a little secret..I really know what is going around me I just don't voice it or maybe act on things as some. Being Naïve means different things to different people. My mind is going but I make a conscious choice to not be calculating, or to have a need to be top of the mountain, nor move the mountain. I see people that are naïve too, but they are kind, thoughtful, and have such a big heart. It is part of ones personality and they seem to bounce back, maybe somewhat guarded but they cannot help themselves but to love and believe in the ever after once more..some may call it Naïve..I call it is who they are..

Hugs my friend,


Petra said it best."Naivety is ultimately the triumph of innocent goodness over calculated moves meant to ensure some material or social success at the expense of human decency."

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 12, 2012:

I learn something from every hub you create. I thank you. It's okay to be naïve, just have common sense too. I also figured out what's wrong with me thanks to this quote you shared --- "Every true genius is bound to be naïve." ~ Friedrich Schiller! :)

Jonathan McCloskey from Cinnaminson, New Jersey on April 12, 2012:

The poem is very interesting, I think you've captured the naivety we all share very well. Thanks for sharing this with me.

Poetic Fool on April 12, 2012:

Martie, I am so glad that Sannel shared this hub or I would never have found it. I do believe that we can learn from our mistakes to become less naïve and more wise. However, I think you are right; to be trusting is who you are and it is very hard to change. I've known trusting people who have been hurt so badly they no longer trust and have become bitter. They're not necessarily bitter because they have been hurt though this must be true for some. Many are bitter because they no longer allow themselves to trust thus having to deny who they really are, trusting people. Does this make any sense?

Anyway, your hub is insightful and the poems, awesome. Thank you for sharing this!

SanneL from Sweden on April 12, 2012:

Martie, what a wonderful article! I have been very naïve, and got very hurt. I tried to learn not to be so damn trusting, because it's so disappointing to be the one always getting stamped on, and some bitterness starts to creep up , even if you do not want it to. However, I'm still naïve, always trusting, always expect the best out of everybody, and still getting hurt and disappointed. I guess I'll never learn. LOL! I love your beautiful poem as well.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 28, 2011:

epigramman – Oh my, when a man utter such beautiful words, a woman feels a ‘thank you very much, sir,” is an inefficient payment for the admiration she enjoys. So, Epi, I’m giving you a smile and a hug and a yes for the next dance :)))) You are too adorable!

Sunday, 10:40pm SA-time

epigramman on August 28, 2011:

..well it's always worthwhile when it comes to a great writer and thinker to check out their older stuff - and revisit a classic - of which you have so many.

As always, a lot of depth and soul to your writing, whatever your thoughts may be, and that is an irresistable combination to the epi-man - a completely beautiful woman who is such a profound and articulate writer - in one word from my weak heart right now - and yes I am overwhelmed, hubsensational!!!!!! (you are, and adorable too)

lake erie time ontario canada 12:59pm sunday afternoon with last cup of coffee and Wynton Marsalis and Kathleen Battle

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 12, 2010:

James A Watkins – and the naïve never learns how not to trust. S/he is always-always ready and willing to trust, even in a state of bitterness because of too many disappointments. James, it is good to know you are happy to be naïve – it took me a very long time to reach the stage of contentment because I am - I’ve always tried to be not-naive, and therefore I was unhappy – and this specific unhappiness is extremely painful... But, and I believe this, the Naïve learns more in life as any others. Only best wishes from me to you. You know the one who acknowledges God’s blessings, is blessed.

James A Watkins from Chicago on December 12, 2010:

This is a very good article. I enjoyed reading it.

My father always called me Mr. Naïve. I was partly raised by a saintly grandmother and my dad always said that was my problem: I thought all people were going to be like her. And they are decidedly not.

Nonetheless, I continue to expect the best out of people, I trust everybody, and I think everybody will treat me well, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. But I'm happy this way. It is my nature.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 09, 2010:

SilentReed – I’ve just woke up and, as usual, started to check my comments while enjoying my morning coffee. I had a good night’s rest, my mood was tranquil and my spirit positive; I was geared for this Friday and all its responsibilities. This comment of yours was the first I’ve opened, and lo and behold, it promptly opened the sluicegate of my dam of tears. SilentReed, you’ve touched me deeply with this poetic thought of yours, for although I am not helpless in many ways anymore, my emotional self is still a poor naive and helpless baby. I call her Me, and I have to protect her daily with the firmness of an inflexible iron bar. And I’m crying, because I wish it was not necessary to be so hard on Myself. Thanks you so much for this beautiful, heart-touching comment. Take good care of yours and yourself.

SilentReed from Philippines on December 09, 2010:

Did nature ERR / when she declared / that through evolution or God's creation / a child is born into this world / cloth in innocence / NAÏVE and helpless....;)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 04, 2010:

Nell Rose – You are certainly wise, and I like to regard myself as such too, but I’ve learned the hard way that even the wise are not perfect. Just like all others they slip and fall and you know it takes only one step to fall in a pit. Thanks for coming by. I love your comments on my hubs.

Nell Rose from England on December 04, 2010:

Hi, I used to be so naïve, I believed everything everybody told me! now I tend to be the opposite! I don't trust anyone, well, most of the time! lol but I have now discovered, according to the above, that I must be wise! I forgive, but never forget! loved the quotes and the poem, thanks nell

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 03, 2010:

Petra Vlah – Wow, I just love this comment of yours, especially the last paragraph. You’ve nailed the essence with the best words. I’m going to print it; I need to read it often. For I tend to blame myself when things go wrong. Why was I not able to foreseen it, while most people around me did? I am always too willing to give someone the opportunity to proof her/himself as a leader worthwhile to follow. (I’m so tired of being my own leader :))) Take care of yourself, dear friend, and let us be naïve where we are safe and sound.

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on December 03, 2010:

My dear Martie

Just because you are a trusting person and give people and circumstances the benefit of the doubt, I would not call you naïve. Trusting and lending their soul without ever taking precautions and expecting to get hurt is the quality that makes children adorable.

Naivety is ultimately the triumph of innocent goodness over calculated moves meant to ensure some material or social success at the expense of human decency. Keep your candor, Martie and your pure soul and don’t ever worry about being “naïve” as it is a lot better than being suspicious and bitter while drawing in venom.

The price of losing naivety is to become a cynic and a pathetic misanthrope doubting everything except their own distorted way of seeing life. I hope you never get into those muddy waters where only rhinoceros feel at ease.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 29, 2010:

Nellieanna – I like this summary of yours. I wonder what would be a better word to use in my statement: “There is only one step between naivety and stupidity”, meaning that a naïve person is quite capable to dare for a second and even a third time something that already proved itself too risky or too impossible to conquer/beat/achieve. The Jews have a word ‘gutzpa’ – not sure about the spelling – but it means arrogantly courageous. It is like putting your hand over and over in a flame, believing that you will eventually kill the flame. Could this not be called stupidity?

I always appreciate your thoughts!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on November 29, 2010:

Martie ~ Just an additional thought: Stupid implies a lack or shortage of intelligence and ability to reason and to behave appropriately. Naïve implies a lack of experience and sophistication, but implies no lack of wisdom and intelligence. If it seems to lack "grasp" or "understanding", it may simply mean that it has no fixed ideas on which to draw hasty conclusions and assumptions, so that it can simply look at a thing with fresh eyes and awareness. Often it can be the person with the most uncluttered view who can "see through" it more easily than one with many other pre-ceptions and pre-set views clouding their present view of the things they encounter nearby.

Children usually seem to have this innate clarity; - so they are quickly "trained" to think like everyone else and become equally jaded and pre-judiced. ;->

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 28, 2010:

katiem2 – I just have to emphasize your comment: “Good energy is three times as powerful to evil in equal doses.” This is an excellent topic for a hub, don’t you agree? Thanks for coming by. I always appreciate your comments tremendously. Take care!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on November 28, 2010:

I cherish every naïve bone in my body and give thanks to the fact that some still remain. I also choose to feel good energy is three times as powerful to evil in equal doses. Peace and Love :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 23, 2010:

tonymac04 – Yes, open to newness and to wonder, discovering and learning the most interesting realities as far as one goes. But all the way at one’s own expense. Like a toddler – investigating, enjoying, fearless, daring... burning/cutting/bruising in the process fingers, legs, noses, knees...

Knowledge and wisdom elucidate the past, the already discovered. The future is filled with surprises. Not two events, relationships, experiences are the same.

But guess what, Tony, I prefer to be this day. How boring life must be for those who are not naïve enough to dive into the unknown future, believing/hoping that the best of the best is still to be discovered?

The challenge is: Don’t cross the line that separates naivety from stupidity. Oh, and this is like walking on the edge of a precipice.

Thank you so much for your comment that so clearly exposes your ability to see deep, far and wide. Mooi loop, my vriend. Ek waardeer jou vriendskap en ondersteuning geweldig baie.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on November 22, 2010:

Dear friend, this is so true! And so beautifully written. I think being naïve is sometimes better than being wise! At least one is open to newness, to wonder. Or is naivety a part of wisdom, perhaps? Anyway I enjoyed this Hub and the quotes were especially interesting.


Love and peace


Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 22, 2010:

daydreamer13 - Thank you - Your inspire me to go on on this track. Take care!

daydreamer13 on November 22, 2010:

Good writing here!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 19, 2010:

JY3502 – Stupidity is without doubt the other side of naivety, and most of the time the situation – and not I – is the one who flips the coin up in the air, and poor me will not see which side is up or down before it lies on the floor again. But whether the one or the other, I always feel embarrassed. Why do I have to be so naïve? Is it really so difficult to be world-wise and sophisticated? Oh well... my angel-bodyguards will, at least, never get bored with me. Thanks for the read and the comment. I love you too.

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on November 18, 2010:

I liked this Martie. I got a good chuckle out of the thought there's a thin line between being naïve and stupid.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2010:

@ POETVIX – I just woke up with you on my mind. So I came back here, read your comment again and my response, and realized that I’ve neglected you in my ever ongoing haste. You know how much I appreciate your comments – you are my elder sister in poetry and I love to learn what you teach me. You’ve pinned out a unique characteristic of the naïve: "Always expecting the best of all things." The naïve is always positive and enthusiastic, too ready to take up a challenge of a task or a project. Her life is a marvelous adventure and every day gives her a thrill. Sometimes thrills she does not like at all, but most of the time thrills worthwhile to remember and cherish. Take good care of yourself! Mwa!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2010:

Nellieanna – my most adorable cyber-mother, all your comments are sparkling diamonds in the comment-sections of all hubs I’ve read until now, but this one is a giant of a diamond. I am so in tune with you. This time too, every word you’ve written confirmed my own thoughts and killed my doubts. If you ever doubt your value on this earth, please know that one of the reasons you were born is to untangle all the knots in my soul. Thank you so much for enriching me with your thoughts. Mwa!

I hope this ‘mwa’ sounds and feels like a fat kiss on your cheek. Please take good care of yourself.

poetvix – Thank you for your heart-warming comment. I love you too.

thougtforce – I came to the same conclusion many years ago. That is why I stopped trying to be not naïve. I know I will forever bump my head against solid walls (the calculated made-up minds of others), but I came to terms with this. Sometimes I even managed to scatter a mind or two. Mmm, perhaps I am a mind-scatterer. And of course I love you too.

drbj – You grew on me since I met you at FU. By now I appreciate and enjoy your comments so much I don’t think I can hub without it. I’ll send Billy your apologies first thing in the morning :))). I just have to repeat this jewel of a heart-warming quote: “Oh, what webs we all do weave when we lose that quality we call naïve.” Thanks a lot for this one, drbj!

always exploring – so that is why I ‘knew’ you were my lost twin? LOL! Yes, for the first time I am able to ‘buy’ that scripture. We have to be naïve (trusting, able to forgive, not able to bear grudges, and able to believe without doubts that Good will prevail), and not happy-go-lucky and ignorant with no urge to seek the answers of our questions. You know I love you, mwa!

leni sands – Well, rather be followed by naïve mistakes as by calculated ones. The latter is too much of a proof that we are incapable and doomed to be losers forever. I just love these words of yours: ‘Naivety is a delicate flower trying to survive in the cold, wind and frost.’ Beautiful! So true. And the wonder: It does survive. Thank you so much for your always-soul-enriching comments on my hubs. Please know you are dearly appreciated by me.

Leni Sands from UK on November 18, 2010:

I too, have always believed that good will prevail and I have spent years covering my naïve tracks. Naivety is a delicate flower trying to survive in the cold, wind and frost. My naïve mistakes still follow me around! This is a beautiful written hub.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 18, 2010:

Hello my friend across the miles,iv'e been told many times that i'm naïve.I do trust people sometimes when they are not sincere,but i'd rather do that than never trust anyone.I love your poem and your bible scripture.It seems that God loves naïve (little children)

Love and Peace

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 18, 2010:

Oh. what webs we all do weave, When we lose that quality we call naïve.

Apologies to Bill Shakespeare.

Thanks for the heartfelt prose and poetry, Martie.

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on November 18, 2010:

Being naive is much better than being calcualted, there are too many of the later variety out there!! Naïve people have a big heart and that can´t be bad! In the long run it will pay off to bee naïve and kind! Awesome and up!

poetvix from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. on November 18, 2010:

What a beautiful hub. The quotes were great too and I love "It is well for the heart to be naïve and the mind not to be. ~ Anatole France." I wonder if being naïve is really just another way of saying expecting the best of all things. Only one who has true faith can be so. Never let it go.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on November 18, 2010:

I see little Nellie Anna always hoping and trying, often defeated and still too naïve to fully comprehend. I would go on believing in goodness and questioning my own fitness for many years.

I suspect all humans are born naïve and the challenge is to retain the healthy aspects of it while learning to manage, to navigate through life and to discard the unhealthy response which always lead us into hurt and/or trouble. Results have a way (or they should) of worming their way into one's consciousness. After a few (or many depending on the depth of our naivete) moments of "AHA! - So THAT is my problem!" and "Voila!- so that's a way I can more often avoid that problem!" - begin to "take" and we can retain our child-like innocence and still become "wise as foxes" when it comes to con-artists, spammers, abuse, etc. It's surely part of the "Course - Life 101" in which we are here to make passing grades, if only to be able to pass along some wisdom to our progeny.

It's a really good hub, Martie and the poem is beyond good! Thank you for sharing this.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2010:

@ saddlerider1 – I know exactly what you mean; I can repeat your words as my own. Fortunately I became a bit of a skeptic, so there are a few unknowns I will not explore – because they look too much like the knowns I never want to know again.

Thanks for coming by. Take care. May poetic thoughts haunt you until you hub it :))))

saddlerider1 on November 18, 2010:

Naivety kept me alive in the mean streets of life, for without it I would not have climbed the mountains and fought back the storms, the pain of loss and the sadness and happiness in my time.

Although many people are far to trusting and that's when being naïve like Bobbirant mentioned can bite hard sometimes. Bravo for sharing.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2010:

@ BobbiRant – Yes, I shy back... for a while :))) Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m on my way to get my homework in your corner up to date.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 18, 2010:

@ LillyGrillzit – Thanks Lilly – I take your compliment very much to heart, because I can feel it comes out of your heart. Take care!

@ Loves To Read – Always nice to see you! The wonder is – when we fall short in one characteristic there is a surplus in another one to keep us perfectly balanced. Unless, of course, we have a serious disorder. Thanks for coming by.

@ Micky Dee – God bless you too, dear Micky. Thanks for traveling to my corner. Will we ever get wise... completely wise? Nope. Certainly not me.

BobbiRant from New York on November 18, 2010:

How true, once I was very trusting. Once you learn the world has teeth and can bite hard sometimes, you kind of shy back much more. Lovely write.

Micky Dee on November 18, 2010:

I am so naïve. I may appear to be world traveled and wise - nope. God bless Martie!

Loves To Read on November 18, 2010:

Martie my interpretation of naïve is someone young and innocent. But i must say i have met a number of people that i would say are bordering on mentally challenged on some very simple matters. Yet perfectly normal in all the rest. Hery thought provoking hub.

Love and Hugs

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on November 17, 2010:

Beautiful, and well put together. Again, beautiful work.

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