Quotations about   mind

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He says, You have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. It is your house of treasure and no one in the world can interfere with it. If you won the Irish Sweepstakes and bought a house that needed furniture would you fill it with bits and pieces of rubbish? Your mind is your house and if you fill it with rubbish from the cinemas it will rot in your head. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.

Frank McCourt (1930-2009) Irish-American teacher and writer
Angela’s Ashes, ch. 8 (1996)
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Added on 27-Aug-20 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
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Psychiatry is all biological and all social. there is no mental function without brain and social context. To ask how much of mind is biological and how much social is as meaningless as to ask how much of the area of a rectangle is due to its width and how much to its height, or how much of the phenotype is due to genes and how much to environment.

Leon Eisenberg (1922-2009) American psychiatrist and medical educator
“The social construction of the human brain,” American Journal of Psychiatry (Nov 1995)
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Added on 28-Jul-20 | Last updated 28-Jul-20
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The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“The Call of Cthulhu,” ch. 1, opening words (1928)
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Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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It’s probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls — as little as one may like to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything.

And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one’s sense of humor begins to reassert itself.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Pet Sematary (1983)
Added on 10-Aug-16 | Last updated 10-Aug-16
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Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French author
Remembrance of Things Past (1913-27)
Added on 8-Feb-16 | Last updated 8-Feb-16
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Philosophy directs us first to seek the goods of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied, or are not much wanted.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Advancement of Learning, 8.2 (1605)
Added on 2-Jul-15 | Last updated 2-Jul-15
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No state can be more destitute than that of a him who, when the delites of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Plays of William Shakespeare, “Cymbeline” (1765)
Added on 10-Apr-15 | Last updated 10-Apr-15
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Men, as well as women, are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (21 Jan 1748)
Added on 2-Mar-15 | Last updated 2-Mar-15
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The great business of study is to form a mind adapted and adequate to all times and all occasions; to which all nature is then laid open, and which may be said to possess the key of her inexhaustible riches.

Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) British painter, critic
“Discourse Eleven” (10 Dec 1782)
Added on 15-Jan-15 | Last updated 15-Jan-15
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Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 4 (1929)
Added on 28-Jul-14 | Last updated 28-Jul-14
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The present state of civilized nations and their past history bear witness on the same side. So far as any nation recognises, or has recognised, the great truth, that every dictum, every belief, must be tested and tried to the uttermost, and swept ruthlessly away if it be not in accordance with right reason, so far is that nation prosperous and healthy; and so far as a nation has allowed itself to be hood-winked and fettered, and the free application of its intellect, as the criterion of all truth, restricted, so far is it sinking and rotten within. There is one restriction, and only one, so far as I know, placed upon our supreme arbiter. It is, that it shall be actuated by an uncompromising and unswerving love of truth. With that, the human intellect is the nearest in personification of the Divine; without that, it is, in my apprehension, the worst of conceivable devils.

T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist [Thomas Henry Huxley]
“Science and Religion,” lecture (Dec 1858)
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Quoted in The Government School of Mines, The Builder (Jan 1859)
Added on 7-Feb-14 | Last updated 7-Feb-14
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The only difference between me and most people is that I’m perfectly aware that all my important decisions are made for me by my subconscious. My frontal lobes are just kidding themselves that they decide anything at all. All they do is think up reasons for the decisions that are already made.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
In “Author Rex Stout vs. the FBI,” Interview with Sandra Schmidt, Life (10 Dec 1965)
Added on 9-Jan-14 | Last updated 9-Jan-14
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Questions show the mind’s range, and answers, its subtlety.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 13-May-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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A strong mind is one which does not lose its balance even under the most violent excitement.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War, Book 1, ch. 3 (1832) [tr. J. Graham (1873)]
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Alt. trans.: "A strong character is one that will not be unbalanced by the most powerful emotions." [tr. Howard & Paret (1976)]
Added on 27-Apr-09 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.

[La pensée est le labeur de l’intelligence, la rêverie en est la volupté.]

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Vol. 4 “St. Denis,” Book 2 “Eponine,” ch. 1 “The Field of the Lark” (1862) [tr. Wilbour]

Alt trans. [Denny (1980)]: "Thought is the work of the intellect, reveries its self-indulgence." Cited as Part IV, ch. 2 "Eponine."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jun-16
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