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date: 05 June 2020

The Mind 

  1. A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.
    Jane Austen 1775–1817 English novelist: Emma (1816) ch. 27
  2. Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind.
    Leda Cosmides 1957–  and John Tooby American anthropologist and American psychologist: Evolutionary Psychology: a primer (1997 website
  3. With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.
    Charles Darwin 1809–82 English natural historian: Francis Darwin (ed.) The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1887) ch. 3
  4. For it is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
    René Descartes 1596–1650 French philosopher and mathematician: Le Discours de la méthode (1637) pt. 1
  5. Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open.
    James Dewar 1842–1923 Scottish physicist: attributed
  6. My mind to me a kingdom is.
    Edward Dyer d. 1607 English poet: ‘In praise of a contented mind’ (1588), attributed
  7. It is neither death, nor exile, nor toil, nor any such thing that is the cause of our doing, or of our not doing, anything, but only our opinions and the decisions of our will.
    often quoted as ‘Not things, but opinions about things, trouble men’
    Epictetus 50–120 Phrygian Stoic philosopher: The Discourses bk. 1, ch. 11
  8. There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. As well speak of a female liver.
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860–1935 American writer and feminist: Women and Economics (1898) ch. 8
  9. If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason for supposing that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.
    J. B. S. Haldane 1892–1964 Scottish mathematical biologist: Possible Worlds (1927) ‘When I am Dead’
  10. On earth there is nothing great but man; in man there is nothing great but mind.
    William Hamilton 1788–1856 Scottish metaphysician: Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic (1859); attributed in a Latin form to Favorinus in Pico di Mirandola (1463–94) Disputationes Adversus Astrologiam Divinatricem
  11. Purple haze is in my brain
    Lately things don't seem the same.
    Jimi Hendrix 1942–70 American rock musician: ‘Purple Haze’ (1967 song)
  12. O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
    May who ne'er hung there.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–89 English poet and priest: ‘No worst, there is none’ (written 1885)
  13. The contents of the personal unconscious are chiefly the feeling-toned complexes…The contents of the collective unconscious, on the other hand, are known as archetypes.
    Carl Gustav Jung 1875–1961 Swiss psychologist: Eranos Jahrbuch (1934)
  14. The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing—to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. Not a select party.
    John Keats 1795–1821 English poet: letter to George and Georgiana Keats, 24 September 1819, in H. E. Rollins (ed.) Letters of John Keats (1958) vol. 2
  15. Everyone complains of his memory, and no one complains of his judgement.
    Duc de la Rochefoucauld 1613–80 French moralist: Maximes (1678) no. 89
  16. The mind of man is capable of anything.
    Guy de Maupassant 1850–93 French novelist and short-story writer: ‘The Tress of Hair’ 1884
  17. The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
    John Milton 1608–74 English poet: Paradise Lost (1667) bk. 1, l. 254
  18. Consciousness…is the phenomenon whereby the universe's very existence is made known.
    Roger Penrose 1931–  British mathematician and theoretical physicist: The Emperor's New Mind (1989) ch. 10 ‘Conclusion’
  19. That's the classical mind at work, runs fine inside but looks dingy on the surface.
    Robert M. Pirsig 1928–2017 American writer: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
  20. What is Matter?—Never mind.
    What is Mind?—No matter.
    Punch 1841–1992 English humorous weekly periodical: 14 July 1855
  21. What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind. How true that is.
    Dan Quayle 1947–  American Republican politician: speech to the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste’; in Times 26 May 1989
  22. Do I believe in free will? Of course, I have no choice.
    quoted in slightly varying forms, as ‘We have to believe in free will. We've got no choice’
    Isaac Bashevis Singer 1904–91 Polish-born American novelist and short-story writer: attributed; L. Tiger Optimism: the Biology of Hope (1979)
  23. The final weapon is the brain, all else is supplementary.
    John Steinbeck 1902–68 American novelist: The Acts of King Arthur (1976) ‘Gawain, Ewain, and Marhalt’
  24. At the very best, a mind enclosed in language is in prison.
    Simone Weil 1909–43 French essayist and philosopher: ‘Human Personality’ (1943)
  25. Mind in its purest play is like some bat
    That beats about in caverns all alone,
    Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
    Not to conclude against a wall of stone.
    Richard Wilbur 1921–2017 American poet: ‘Mind’ (1956)
  26. To give a sex to mind was not very consistent with the principles of a man [Rousseau] who argued so warmly, and so well, for the immortality of the soul.
    often quoted as, ‘Mind has no sex’
    Mary Wollstonecraft 1759–97 English feminist: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) ch. 3