I love great quotes. And here for your entertainment and edification are a series of random quotes from some great minds. And what list of great thinkers would be complete without Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Soren Kierkegaard, Isaac Asiminov, Albert Einstein, and, yes, Winnie the Pooh.
I must however exclude myself from the list of great minds, but hey…where else can you get blogs with great titles like this?!!
I’ve found that often quotes made from those who entertain views with whom I would most vehemently disagree are by no small irony the most provocative and invigorating. The ones that sting the cerebrum like a slap in the face with a wet salmon are more likely to jolt the forebrain out of its mental stupor and stimulate neural activity. You may conjecture there to be an amusing anecdote about an alleged incident involving myself and a cold, wet salmon however I will leave you to the amusement of your own imagination. Even if diametrically opposed to opposing views, the discomfort they bring may force you to re-examine or at least clarify your own.
I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes that said something to the effect that every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by some new thought or idea and never shrinks back to its original dimensions.
In this vein, I put forth a bold proposition; thinking that stimulates the mind should create some discomfort. Think of it as intentionally giving yourself a mental wedgie! Opposing points of view lessen the painful condition of bloating and pretentiousness that results from only entertaining points of view compatible with your own. This is Kaopectate for the brain. If you haven’t done any push-ups recently, do a few more than you know you should. The next morning when you wake up with aching muscles you forgot you had; this is how your brain should feel afterward. And who wants flabby brain cells?
Here are some great quotes on the subject of thinking and writing that I culled from a few sites, arranged in no particular order.
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” — William James
“A good listener is usually thinking about something else.” — Kin Hubbard
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.” — Thomas Paine
“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” — Oscar Wilde
“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” — Buckminster Fuller
“Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers.” — Bruce Calvert
“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.” — Niels Bohr
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” — Rick Warren
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”– George S. Patton
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth; only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis
“Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.” — Anonymous
“Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.” — Howard Mumford Jones
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” — Soren Kierkegaard
“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” – Anthony de Mello
“Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference.” — Karl Von Clausewitz
“Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.” — James Thurber
“The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it.” — H.G. Wells
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” — John F. Kennedy
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein
“Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.” — William Zinsser
“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” — Isaac Asimov
The last quote I leave you with should be mandatory reading for all ideologues; “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” — Winnie the Pooh
Quick. Somebody get the jumper cables!