"Think-or be damned!"

Bryan Penton


"Dare to think for yourself."



"We're out of money; it's time to think."

Lord Rutherford


"To think is not enough; you must think of something."

Jules Renard Journal ,1899


"There is no expedient to which a person will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking."

-Thomas Edison 1929


"I think therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothache. I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that’s alive."

Milan Kundara



"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds."

-John Maynard Keyes


"He is the rich man, and enjoys the fruits of riches, who summer and winter forever can find delight in his own thought."

-Henry David Thoreau


Thought-To act is easy; to think is hard."



"The Art of Thinking is the art of being one's self and this art can only be learned if one is by one's self."

Ernest Dimnet

The Art of Thinking


"What, precisely , is "thinking"/ When at the reception of sense-impressions, memory pictures emerge, this is not yet "thinking". And when such pictures from series, each member of which calls forth another, this too is not yet "thinking". When, however, a certain picture turns up in many such series, then-precisely through such return-it becomes an ordering element for such series, in that it connects series which in themselves are uncorrected. Such an element becomes an instrument, a concept. I think that the transition from free association or" dreaming" to thinking is characterized by the more or less dominating role which the "concept " plays in it. It is by no means necessary that a concept must be connected with a sensorialy cognizable and reproducible sign (word); but when this is the case thinking becomes by means of that fact communicable…."



"A man's thoughts must be going. Whilst he is awake, the working of his mind is as constant as the beating of his pulse. He can no more stop the one than the other. Hence, if our thoughts have nothing to act upon, they act upon themselves. They acquire a corrosive quality; they become in the last degree irksome and tormenting."

William Paley


"The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is, the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"your business as thinkers, is to make plainer the way from something to the whole of things."

Justice Holmes


"men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts."



"Almost all rich veins of original and striking speculation have been opened by systematic half-thinkers."

John Stuart Mill

'Bentham' 1838


"Thinking is harmony within us. Once catch the rhythm of that kind of thinking, and you are on your way. But know this, that the world will try to batter you into dissonance at every turn. Every formalist will try to break your harmony by refusing to leave Thought where it belongs, with Spontaneity. Every company of formalists will try to pigeon-hole this subject of Consent. They will break it down to ‘naturalism’ or ‘mysticism’ or something equally ludicrous. Everywhere the world is against you if you try to keep thought simple-and detached."

Newton Dillaway


"Think for yourself. Whatever is happening at the moment, try to think for yourself."

Jean Riboud


"The presence of an idea is like that of a loved one. We imagine that we shall never forget it, and that the beloved can never become indifferent to us; but out of sight, out of mind! The finest thought runs the risk of being irretrievably forgotten if it is not written down."

-Shocpenhauer 'On Thinking for Oneself'


"Thinking, like drinking, should not be done alone."

Joan Timmerman


"Do not craze yourself with thinking, but go about your business anywhere. Life is not intellectual and critical, but sturdy."



"To think is not enough; you must think of something."

Jules Renard


"And I am convinced that from the heads of all ponderous profound beings, such as Plato, Pyrrho, the Devil, Jupiter, Dante, and so on, there always goes up a certain semi-visible mist, while in the act of thinking deep thoughts."


Moby Dick


"Give yourself more to thinking than to reading, for reading without thinking will make you vain, rather than knowing….Learn to think steadily, closely, and acutely, upon ever subject to which your instructors direct your attention."

Charles Simmons


"What, oh what , oh what is thought? It is the only thing-and yet nothing."

John Addington Symonds


"Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the Chief glory of man."

Bertrand Russell


"People think too much."

Frank Sinatra


"In our society the simplest person is involved with ideas. Every person we meet in the course of our daily life, no matter how unlettered he may be, is groping with sentences toward a sense of his life and his position in it; and he has what almost always goes with an impulse to ideology, a good deal of animus and anger."

Lionel Trilling

The Liberal Imagination


"Why is thought-being a secretion of the brain-more wonderful than gravity (as) a property of matter? It is our arrogance, our admiration of ourselves."

-Charles Darwin   (private notebooks)


"In sustained thinking the Will manifests one of its noblest aspects. The mind must now plunge into the depths of a subject, penetrate by driving face into the utmost complexities, concentrating upon fact, reality, relation, etc. with great power, and comparing, conjoining, separating, evolving, with tireless persistency."


"Either you think-or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night


"For most of us thinking has become extraordinarily important. We never realize that thought is always old, thought is never new, thought can never be free. We were talking about freedom of thought, which is sheer nonsense which means you may express what you want, say what you like; but thought in itself is never free, because thought is the response of memory. ..."

J. Krishnamurti


"It is clear that all verbal structures with meaning are verbal imitations of that elusive psychological and physiological process known as thought, a process stumbling through emotional entanglements, sudden irrational convictions, involuntary gleams of insight, rationalized prejudices, and blocks of panic and inertia, finally to reach a completely incommunicable intuition."

Northrop Frye

Anatomy of Criticism


"I therefore stand and work in the world as one who aims at making men less shallow and morally better by making them think."

Albert Schweitzer

Out of my Life and Work


"With the spirit of the age I am in complete disagreement, because it is filled with disdain for thinking."

Albert Schweitzer



   "As denizens of this civilization and evolutionary era, we have become almost totally identified with the content of our minds. This condition is both a symptom of extreme individualism and in turn feeds ours sense of separateness. Most of us live-as James Joyce once remarked about one of his characters-a short distance from our bodies. In fact, we seem to live as far from our bodies as our necks are long. Heads are us!

   I remember, as a college student, wondering how I could stop the endless thinking that went on in my mind, the planning for the future, the fantasizing and worrying about this or that. I felt a kinship with the existentialist philosophers, my heroes at the time, who were frustrated by their own constant cogitation and analysis, and who wished nothing more than to be in direct communion with the world. As Albert Camus wrote, "If I were a tree among trees, a cat among cats...this problem would not arise. This ridiculous reason is what sets me in opposition to all creation."

Wes Nisker

Buddha's Nature


"But today in addition to that neglect of thought there is also prevalent mistrust of it. The organized political, social, and religious association of our time are at work to induce the individual man not to arrive at his convictions by his own thinking but to make his own such convictions as they keep ready made for him. Any man who thinks for himself and at the same time is spiritually free, is to them something inconvenient and even uncanny. He does not offer sufficient guarantee that he will merge himself in their organization in the way they wish. All corporate bodies look today for their strength not so much to the spiritual worth of the ideas which they represent and to that of the people who belong to them, as the attainment of the highest possible degree of unity and exclusiveness. It is in this that they expect to find their strongest power for offence and defense

Hence the spirit of the age rejoices, instead of lamenting, that thinking seems to be unequal to its task, and gives it no credit for what, in spite of imperfections, it has already accomplished. It refuses to admit, what is nevertheless the fact, that all spiritual progress up to to-day has come about through the achievements of thought, or to reflect that thinking may still be able in the future to accomplish what it has not succeeded in accomplishing as yet. Of such consideration the spirit of the age takes no account. Its only concern is to discredit individual thinking in every possible way, and it deals with that on the lines of the saying: "Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath."

Albert Schweitzer

Out of My Life and Work




   "What is our reaction in the presence of a thinker? The same that we experience in the presence of beauty: we are surprised at first, but immediately after, we admire. Only, with some people admiration is accompanied by discouragement, with others it creates emulation. Purely literary people who think too much of brilliance are early dazzled by it into inertness. Average people react differently. The more confident almost invariably think: "What a shame that I should not talk like that! I might have. If only I had this man's chances, his education, his experience of travel, his connection with people accustomed to a higher kind of conversation, or only even to a better vocabulary, I should not be the dumb, dull creature I must appear to be." In their hearts, they think distinction is found, not gained, and they blame destiny. Others suspect under it all a recipe which they do not know but might learn, "Tell me how!" they seem to say, and entertain not a doubt that, if they were given the formula, results would immediately follow. Apart from the stupid listeners who regard a brilliant conversationalist much as a miserly old French farmer regards a generous American, that is to say, as a freak, people feel a kinship between themselves and the more gifted specimens of mankind. The only difference they see between the latter and themselves is accidental and likely to be effaced in an instant: in other words, they believe in an Art of Thinking."

Ernest Dimnet

The Art of Thinking


"It is only by confidence in our ability to reach truth by our own individual thinking, that we are capable of accepting truth from outside. Unfettered thought, provided it be deep, never degenerates into subjectivity. With its own ideas it stirs those within itself which enjoy and traditional credit for being true, and exerts itself to be able to possess them as knowledge."

Albert Schweitzer



"In a period which regards as absurd and little worth, as antiquated and long ago left behind, whatever it feels to be in any way akin to rationalism or free thought, and which even mocks at the vindication of inalienable human rights which was secured in the eighteenth century, I acknowledge myself to be one who places all his confidence in rational thinking. I venture to say to our generation that it must not think it has done with rationalism because the rationalism of the past had to give place first to Romanticism, and then to a ‘Realpolitik’ which is coming to dominate the spiritual sphere as well as the material. When it has run the gauntlet of the follies of this universal ‘Realpolitik’ and thereby got itself into deeper and deeper misery, both spiritual and material, it will discover at last that there is nothing for it to do but trust itself to a new Rationalism, deeper and amore efficient than the old, and in that seek its salvation.

Renunciation of thinking is a declaration of spiritual bankruptcy. Where there is no longer a conviction that men can get to know the truth by their own thinking, skepticism begins. Those who work to make our age skeptical in this way, do so in the expectation that, as a result of renouncing all hope of self-discovered truth, men will end by accepting as truth what is forced upon them with authority and by propaganda."

Albert Schweitzer



"Most people would die sooner than think: in fact they do so."

Bertrand Russell


"The Japanese have always considered thinking unreliable, lucidity vulgar, and they are traditionally hostile towards that most impudent of brain exercises, logical thinking. In Japan, truths are discovered, the Encyclopedia Americana notes, "by a kind of mental seizure which depends upon the working of a lively and picturesque imagination suggesting to the curious intellect an answer to its problem. Logic being unobtainable for them, they despise it. They seldom miss an opportunity to point out its pitfalls."

Bernard Rudofsky

The Kimono Mind*


Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself."



"Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself."

Doris Lessing


"No one can be a great thinker who does not recognize that as a thinker it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead."

John Stuart Mill


"Less than fifteen percent of the people do any original thinking on any subject….The greatest torture in the world for most people is to think."

Luther Burbank



"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth-more than ruin, more even than death."

Bertrand Russell


"Man cannot produce a single work without the assistance of the slow, assiduous, corrosive worm of thought."

Eugene Montale

Poet in our time


"A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all."

Georges Bernanos

The Last Essays of George Bernanos


To think is to act.



Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself from thinking



"it was at a particular moment in the history of my own rages that I saw the Western world conditioned by the images of Marx, Darwin and Freud; and Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western world. The simplistic straitjacket from which we can only escape by the most anarchic violence."

William Golding



"People think too much."

 Frank Sinatra


   "Why has man given such extraordinary importance to thought?-thought which formulates a concept according to which he tries to live. The formulation of ideologies and the attempted conformity to those ideologies is observable throughout the world. The Hitler movement did it, the Communist people are doing it very thoroughly; the religious groups, the Catholics, the Protestants, the Hindus, and so on have asserted their ideologies through propaganda for two thousand years, and have made man conform through threats, through promises. One observes this phenomenon throughout the world; man has always given thought such extraordinary significance and importance. The more specialized, the more intellectual, the more thought becomes of serious import. So we ask: Can thought ever solve our human problems?"

J. Krishnamurti

 (Talk at Brandeis University)


Book: "The Art of Thinking" by A.F. Harrison & R.M. Bramson

Book: "The Cradle of Thought: Exploring the Origins of Thinking." by Peter Hobson

Book: "The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves" by Curtis White

Book: "Being Logical: A Guide to Good thinking" by D.Q. McInerny

Book: "The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities" by G. Fauconnier & M. Turner

Book: "Can Asians Think? Understanding the Divide Between East and West" by Kishore Manbubani

Book: "The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought" Ed by Alan Bullock et. al

Book: "Thinkers of the Twentieth Century" Ed by Roland Turner

Book: "After Thought: The Challenge to Human Thinking" by James Bailey

Book: "How Brains Think: Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now" by William H. Calvin

Book: "The Human Mind Explained: An Owner's Guide to the Mysteries of the Mind" by Susan A. Greenfield, ed

Book: "An Anatomy Of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind" by Ian Glynn

Book: "The Voice of Reason: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking" by Burton F. Porter

Book: "Blink" The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell

Book: "Frames Of Mind, Twentieth-Anniversary Edition: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner

Book: "Thinking from A to Z" by Nigel Warburton

Book: "Robert Grosseteste and the Origins of Experimental Science 1100-1700" by A.C. Crombie

Book: "The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities" by G. Gauconnier & M. Turner

Book: "The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently....and Why" by Richard E. Nisbett

Book: "Thinking,Vol I of The Life of the Mind" by Hannah Arendt

Book: "The Birth Of The Mind: How a Tiny Number of Genes Creates the Complexity of Human Thought" by Gary Marcus

© 2001



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