Ideas escape from brain of pensive man

Our thoughts help us reason and problem-solve. Conscious thought and reflection help us understand better. Thoughts may lead us to action. What we think, then, is an important component of who we are and how we will live our lives. Our thoughts help us or hurt us, contribute to failure or success. Thoughts can become worry or anxiety, and thoughts don’t necessarily reflect reality. Here are some thoughts about thoughts and thinking.

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The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.

— A. A. Milne

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

— Abraham Lincoln

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.

— Albert Camus

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

— Albert Einstein

When I examined myself and my methods of thought, I came to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

— Albert Einstein

Everything has changed, except our way of thinking.

— Albert Einstein

The significant problems of our time cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

— Albert Einstein

Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.

— Albert Einstein

Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.

— Albert Einstein

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom.

— Aldous Huxley

Amusement is the happiness of those who cannot think.

— Alexander Pope

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.

— Alfred Korzybski

Poets and heroes are of the same race, the latter do what the former conceive.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

— Aristotle

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

— Aristotle, Metaphysics

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

— Carl Sagan

But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.

— Carl Sagan

But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.

— Carl Sagan

The way we think of and perceive the world is mistaken. Our consciousness is structured such that no matter how carefully we may think, no matter how hard we may try to grasp the world around us, the conclusion we arrive at is always different from what things are actually like, and it is our acting upon this mistaken perception that leads to suffering.

— Cokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Sadness, Love, Openness: The Buddhist Path of Joy

We live in deeds, not years: In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

— David Bailey

If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you. If you really make them think, they’ll hate you.

— Don Marquis

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think they’ll hate you.

— Don Marquis

We are disturbed not by events, but by the views which we take of them.

— Epictetus

[T]he test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible” come true.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

The contemplation of things as they are, without substitution or imposture, without error or confusion, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention.

— Francis Bacon

A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.

— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

The human mind isn’t a computer; it cannot progress in an orderly fashion down a list of candidate moves and rank them by a score down to the hundredth of a pawn the way a chess machine does. Even the most disciplined human mind wanders in the heat of competition. This is both a weakness and a strength of human cognition. Sometimes these undisciplined wanderings only weaken your analysis. Other times they lead to inspiration, to beautiful or paradoxical moves that were not on your initial list of candidates.

— Garry Kasparov, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.

— George Matthew Adams

Perhaps the greatest challenge to thinking women is the challenge to move from the desire for safety and approval to the most “unfeminine” quality of all — that of intellectual arrogance, the supreme hubris which asserts to itself the right to reorder the world. The Hubris of the god makers, the hubris of the male-system builders.

— Gerda Lerner

Indeed the measure of our intellectual maturity, one philosopher suggests, is our capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems.

— Gordon W. Allport, Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality
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