Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thinking

"The greatest manifestation of your love for the Almighty can be expressed on your day of death. Before your death, you might be thinking about how you have not fulfilled all of your wishes and plans. In the moments before your death you might have complaints against the Almighty, or you might fatalistically accept your death by saying, What can be done? My body is giving in to the laws of nature. The doctors have given up hope.” Both of these attitudes are wrong You now face the greatest challenge of your life. You have the potential to submit yourself to the will of the Almighty with love. This level takes preparation. If a person has not mastered control of his thoughts, he is likely to waste his last moments thinking of petty resentments and desires. Frequently confusion and fear of death swallow up every other thought unless one has prepared for that moment." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"Right thinking is a prerequisite to right living... In truth the destiny of any life is determined by what fills that mind." - Roy I. Bagley

"The first step towards a creation of character lies, then, in the deliberate choosing of what we think and then thinking persistently on the chosen quality." - Pierre de Bérulle

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"To guard the mind against the temptation of thinking that there are no good people, say to them: “Be such as you would like to see others, and you will find those who resemble you.”" -

"Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours." - William Ellery Channing

"If you try to subdue your selfish motives - anger and so forth - and develop more kindness and compassion for others, ultimately you yourself will benefit more than you would otherwise. So sometimes I say that the wise selfish person should practice this way. Foolish selfish people are always thinking of themselves, and the result is negative. Wise selfish people think of others, help others as much as they can, and the result is that they too receive benefit." -

"Spend time thinking about the virtues of other people. Do not merely do this as a passing thought, but try to feel pleasure in thinking of their virtues." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"The life each of us lives is the life within the limits of our own thinking. To have life more abundant, we must think in the limitless terms of abundance." - Thomas Dreier

"What I am thinking and doing day by day is resistlessly shaping my future - a future in which there is no expiation except through my own better conduct. No one can save me. No one can live my life for me. If I am wise I shall begin today to build my own truer and better world from within." - Horatio W. Dresser

"You can't stop the people from thinking - but you can start them." - J. Stanley Durkee

"Don't think too much about yourselves. Try to cultivate the habit of thinking of others; this will reward you. Nourish your minds by good reading, constant reading. Discover what your lifework is, work in which you can do most good, in which you can be happiest. Be unafraid in all things when you know you are in the right." - Charles W. Eliot

"The efficient man is the man who thinks for himself, and is capable of thinking hard and long." - Charles W. Eliot

"The one and only formative power given to man is thought. By his thinking he not only makes character, but body and affairs, for "as he thinketh within himself, so is he."" - Lowell Fillmore

"In this modern time you have to do your best yourself. That’s your answer to “What is life?” You must do it yourself. Your doing, your thinking. The answers to the meaning of life are inside you." - Joe Flying Bye

"Mental activity, which works in its way from the memory-image to the production of identity of perception via the outer world, merely represents a roundabout way to wish-fulfillment made necessary by experience. Thinking is indeed nothing but a substitute for the hallucinatory wish; and if the dream is called a wish-fulfillment, this becomes something self-evident, since nothing but a wish can impel our psychic apparatus to activity." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"High thinking is inconsistent with complicated material life based on high speed imposed on us by Mammon worship." -

"How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking; always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to. And what is your duty? Whatever the day calls for." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Thinking is a strenuous art - few practice it: and then only at rare times." -

"It is much easier to think right without doing right, than to do right without thinking right. Just thoughts may, and often do, fail of producing just deeds; but just deeds are sure to get just thoughts. The clearest understanding can do little in purifying an impure heart, the strongest little in straightening a crooked one. You cannot reason or talk an Augean stable into cleanliness. A single day's work would make more progress in such a task than a century's words." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Each is driven by the most relentless, persistent instinct man possesses: the instinct for meaning, transcendence, wholeness and truth... Reality is a continuum that extends from thinking to the denser world of physical form." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Mortifications have their reward in a state of consciousness that corresponds, on a lower level, to spiritual beatitude. The artist - and the philosopher and the man of science are also artists - knows the bliss of aesthetic contemplation, discovery and non-attached possession. The goods of the intellect, the emotions and the imagination are real goods; but they are not the final good, and when we treat them as ends in themselves, we fall into idolatry. Mortification of will, desire and action is not enough; there must also be mortification in the fields of knowing, thinking feeling and fancying." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important as remembering... A great many people think they are thinking when they are rearranging their prejudices... the difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of cause." - William James

"Our belief in truth itself.. that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other, what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up? We want to have a truth; we want to believe that our experiments and studies and discussions must put us in a continually better and better position towards it; and on this line we agree to fight out our thinking lives." - William James

"Right thinking, surely, is entirely different from right thought. Right thought is static... Right thinking is the understanding of relationship from moment to moment, which uncovers the whole process of the self." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love." -

"But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God. And it is this in us that is called the rational soul or mind. It is also through the knowledge of necessary truths, and through their abstract expression, that we rise to acts of reflection, which make us think of what is called I, and observe that this or that is within us: and thus, thinking of ourselves, we think of being, of substance, of the simple and the compound, of the immaterial, and of God Himself, conceiving that what is limited in us is in Him without limits." -

"All the Actions, that we have any Idea of, reducing themselves, as has been said, to these two, viz. Thinking and Motion, so far as a Man has a power to think, or not to think; to move or not to move, according to the preference or direction of his own mind, so far is a Man Free. Wherever any performance or forbearance are not equally in a Man’s power; wherever doing or not doing, will not equally follow upon the preference of his mind directing it, there he is not Free, though perhaps the Action may be voluntary." - John Locke

"In every act of sensation, reasoning, or thinking, we are conscious to our selves of our own being; and, in this matter, come not short of the highest degree of certainty." - John Locke

"Perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds; which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understanding as do from these receive into our understanding as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But as I call the other sensation, so I call this reflection, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operation within self... These two, I say, vis. external material things, as the objects of sensation, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of reflection, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings." - John Locke

"We must consider what person stands for; - which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places; which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, as it seems to me, essential to it: it being impossible for any one to perceive without perceiving that he does perceive. When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, meditate, or will anything, we know that we do so. Thus it is always as to our present sensations and perceptions: and by this every one is to himself that which he calls self." - John Locke

"There are three ways whereby a man may become great: being loyal, telling the truth and not thinking idle thoughts." - Gaius Cassius Longinus

"Moaning over what cannot be helped is a confession of futility and fear, of emotional stagnation - in fact, of selfishness and cowardice. The best way to "snap out of it" is to stop thinking about yourself, and start thinking about other people. You can lighten your own load by doing something for someone else. By the simple device of doing an outward, unselfish act today, you can make the past recede. The present and future will again take on their true challenge and perspective." - Frederick Loomis, fully Sir Frederick Oscar Warren Loomis

"You will be able to overcome desires without excessive difficulty when you become aware of their illusory nature. The pleasure of eating, for example, is really of very short duration. You feel the pleasure for only the short amount of time the food is in your mouth. As soon as you have swallowed the food, it is already forgotten... All physical pleasures are similar. Give the matter sufficient thought and you will realize that even the illusory good lasts only a short time. On the other hand, the negative consequences of physical pleasures can be severe and long lasting. A thinking person will definitely not want to place himself in a situation fraught with dangers for momentary pleasures. By habitually thinking about this truth, one will gradually be able to free himself from the prison of foolishly pursuing physical pleasures." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"The most infectiously joyous men and women are those who forget themselves in thinking about others and serving others. Happiness comes not by deliberately courting and wooing it but by giving oneself in self-effacing surrender to great values." - Robert J. McCracken, D.D.

"Dreamers and doers - the world, generally divides men into those two general classifications, but the world is often wrong. There are men who win the admiration and respect of their fellowmen. They are the men worth while. Dreaming is just another name for thinking, planning, devising - another way of saying that a man exercises his soul. A steadfast soul, holding steadily to a dream ideal, plus a sturdy will determined to succeed in any venture, can make any dream come true. Use your mind and your will. They work together for you beautifully if you'll only give them a chance." - B. N. Mills

"I never listen to calumnies, because if they are untrue I run the risk of being deceived, and if they be true, of hating persons not worth thinking about." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Granted that nothing is ‘given’ as real except our world of desires and passions, that we can rise or sink to no other ‘reality’ than the reality of our drives - for thinking is only the relationship of these drives to one another." -

"Most thinkers write badly, because they communicate not only their thoughts, but also the thinking of them." -

"When a person has a major problem, worrying prevents him from thinking of practical ways to solve the problem. The calmer you are, the better you will be able to think of the wisest course of action." - Yehuda Lave

"You may glean knowledge by reading, but you must separate the chaff from the wheat by thinking." - Ronald E. Osborn

"Learning, if rightly applied, makes a young man thinking, attentive, industrious, confident and wary; and an old man cheerful and useful. It is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, an entertainment at all times; it cheers in solitude, and gives moderation and wisdom in all circumstances." - Thomas W. Palmer

"If more politicians in this country were thinking about the next generation instead of the next election, it might be better for the United States and the world." - Claude Denson Pepper

"There needs but thinking right and meaning well." - Alexander Pope

"It is perilous to separate thinking rightly, from acting rightly. He is already half false who speculates on truth and does not do it. The penalty paid by him who speculates on truth without doing it, is, that by degrees the very truth he holds becomes a falsehood." -

"What is the difference between mourning and sadness? Mourning takes hold of one’s heart, but not one’s mind, while sadness takes hold of the mind. Mourning leads to thinking, while sadness stops one’s thoughts. Mourning stems from the light in one’s soul, while sadness comes from the darkness of the soul. Mourning arouses one to life, while sadness brings to the opposite. The Torah obligates mourning when it is appropriate, while it forbids sadness and commands we serve the Almighty with joy." - Moshe Rosenstein, fully Moshe ben Chaim Rosenstein

"Thinking is like loving and dying. Each of us must do it for himself." - Josiah Royce

""Free thought" means thinking freely... To be worthy of the name [freethinker] he must be free of two things: the force of tradition and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is completely free from either, and in the measure of a man's emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker." -

"A person easily becomes a slave to his habits. The most difficult habits to break are the habits of thinking in a certain manner. You can have a large amount of control over yourself by working to obtain positive habits. Even with habits of thoughts, we have the ability to utilize the power of habit to form the habit of thinking rationally and productively, and to elevate our thoughts to such a degree that we will have changed our entire thought patterns for the better." - Yitzchok Isaac Sher

"Every one endeavors as much as possible to make others love what he loves, and to hate what he hates. And so we see that each person by nature desires that other persons should live according to his way of thinking; but it every one does this, then all are a hindrance to one another, and if every one wishes to be praised or beloved by the rest, then they all hate one another." -