combination of cognitive faculties that provides consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception, and judgement in humans and potentially other life forms
(Redirected from Cognition)

Mind refers to the collective aspects of intellect and consciousness which are manifest in thought, perception, emotion, will and imagination.

Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor to think well; this is the principle of morality. ~ Blaise Pascal
Nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent, the nightingale for its song, and the sun for its radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellence of the human mind. ~ A. N. Whitehead

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  • Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
    And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
    The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
    Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
    He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
    Environment is but his looking-glass.
  • Variant: Mind is the Master Power that molds and makes, And we are mind. And ever more we take the tool of thought, and shaping what we will, bring forth a thousand joys, or a thousand ills. We think in secret, and it comes to pass, environment, is but our looking glass
  • A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
  • Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.
    • James Allen, in: Libraries: A Monthly Review of Library Matters and Methods, 1909, p. 208
  • Mind is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing, but is alone itself by itself.
    • Anaxagoras, Frag. B 12 from Early Greek Philosophy, Chapter 6, John Burnet (1920).
  • It is the nature of the mind that makes individuals kin, and the differences in the shape, form or manner of the material atoms out of whose intricate relationships that mind is built are altogether trivial.
  • There is good evidence for a sensorimotor self, an emotional and motivational self probably represented in the right hemisphere, a social self-system, and perhaps an appetitive self. All these self-systems ordinarily work in reasonable coordination with each other, though they can be in conflict at times.
    • Bernard J. Baars, "Understanding Subjectivity: Global Workspace Theory and the Resurrection of the Observing Self" Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3, No. 3, 1996, pp. 211-16.
  • The majority of us control our physical bodies consciously, making them carry out our behests upon the physical plane. Some of us control our emotions consciously, but very few of us can control the mind. Most of us are controlled by our desires, and by our thoughts. But the time is coming when we shall consciously control our threefold lower nature. Time will then not exist for us at all. We shall have that continuity of consciousness upon the three planes of being—physical, emotional, and mental—which will enable us to live as does the Logos, in that very metaphysical abstraction, the Eternal Now.
  • The Science of Raja Yoga, or the "Kingly Science of the Soul," as laid down by its main exponent, Patanjali, will eventually find its greatest demonstration in the West... exemplified in the right use of the mind and its utilisation by the soul for the achievement of group objectives and the development of group consciousness upon the physical plane... Hitherto the mind has either been prostituted to material ends or has been deified. Through the science of Raja Yoga, the mind will be known as the instrument of the soul and the means whereby the brain of the aspirant becomes illuminated and knowledge gained of those matters which concern the realm of the soul.
  • Under the law of evolution... the mind, being the fifth principle, the fifth root race must be intimately concerned with it, and its corresponding fifth subrace more intimately than any other.
    • Alice A. Bailey, in The Light of the Soul: Its Science and Effect: a paraphrase of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1927)
  • One of the most revolutionary realizations to which the occult student has to adjust himself is the appreciation that the mind is a means whereby knowledge is to be gained...
    • Alice A. Bailey, in The Light of the Soul: Its Science and Effect: a paraphrase of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali(1927)
  • Later, when the [human] race sees its problem with clarity, it will act with wisdom, and train with care its Observers and Communicators. These will be men and women in whom the intuition has awakened at the behest of an urgent intellect; they will be people whose minds are so subordinated to the group good, and so free from all sense of separativeness, that their minds present no impediment to the contact with the world of reality and of inner truth. They will not necessarily be people who could be termed "religious" in the ordinary sense of that word, but they will be men of goodwill, of high mental calibre, with minds well stocked and equipped; they will be free from personal ambition and selfishness, animated by love of humanity, and by a desire to help the race. Such a man is a spiritual man. p. 181
    • Alice A. Bailey, in Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 1: Esoteric Psychology (1936)
  • And thus daily, and month by month, and year by year, he will work at his mind, training it in these consecutive habits of thought, and he will learn to choose that of which he thinks; he will no longer allow thoughts to come and go; he will no longer permit a thought to grip him and hold him; he will no longer let a thought come into the mind and fix itself there and decline to be evicted; he will be master within his own house... he will say: “No; no such anxiety shall remain within my mind; no such thought shall have shelter within my mind; within this mind nothing stays that is not there by my choice and my invitation, and that which comes uninvited shall be turned outside the limits of my mind.
  • Once we begin to see that in our relations to the animal kingdom a duty arises which all thoughtful and compassionate minds should recognize - the duty that because we are stronger in mind than the animals, we are or ought to be their guardians and helpers, not their tyrants and oppressors, and we have no right to cause them suffering and terror merely for the gratification of the palate, merely for an added luxury to our own lives.
    • Annie Besant, in a speech given at Manchester UK (18 October 1897)
  • The main preparation to be made for receiving in the physical vehicle the vibrations of the higher consciousness are: its purification from grosser materials by pure food and pure life; the entire subjugation of the passions, and the cultivation of an even, balanced temper and mind, unaffected by the turmoil and vicissitudes of external life; the habit of quiet meditation on lofty topics, turning the mind away from the objects of the senses, and from the mental images arising from them, and fixing it on higher things; the cessation of hurry, especially of that restless, excitable hurry of the mind, which keeps the brain continually at work and flying from one subject to another; the genuine love for the things of the higher world, that makes them more attractive than the objects of the lower, so that the mind rests contentedly in their companionship as in that of a well-loved friend.
  • Meditation quiets the lower mind, ever engaged in thinking about external objects, and when the lower mind is tranquil then only can it be illuminated by the Spirit.
    • Annie Besant, Esoteric Christianity: Or, The Lesser Mysteries (1914)
  • MIND, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with. From the Latin 'mens', a fact unknown to that honest shoe-seller, who, observing that his learned competitor over the way had displayed the motto "'Mens conscia recti'," emblazoned his own front with the words "Men's, women's and children's conscia recti."
  • Science and technology have a simple and persuasive message: the world's problems are soluble by ingenuity and material innovations; the world's riddles, such as the origins of the universe, can be unravelled by the scientific mind. But while science's achievements have been remarkable, they have not been revolutionary in probing human nature. In some ways the measurable problems analysed by science and technology are more easily dissected than human problems. The moon is more easily explored than the typical mind and heart.
  • They scare me more than any other fictional creature out there because they break all the rules. Werewolves and vampires and mummies and giant sharks, you have to go look for them. My attitude is if you go looking for them, no sympathy. But zombies come to you. Zombies don't act like a predator; they act like a virus, and that is the core of my terror. A predator is intelligent by nature, and knows not to overhunt its feeding ground. A virus will just continue to spread, infect and consume, no matter what happens. It's the mindlessness behind it.
  • Max Brooks Lance Eaton (October 2, 2006). "Zombies Spreading like a Virus: PW Talks with Max Brooks". Interview. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 15, 2009
  • The lack of rational thought has always scared me when it came to zombies, the idea that there is no middle ground, no room for negotiation. That has always terrified me. Of course that applies to terrorists, but it can also apply to a hurricane, or flu pandemic, or the potential earthquake that I grew up with living in L.A. Any kind of mindless extremism scares me, and we're living in some pretty extreme times.
  • Max Brooks (October 6, 2006). "Zombie Wars". Washington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
  • Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.
    Whatever a mother, father or other kinsman might do for you, the well-directed mind can do for you even better.
  • Such as take lodgings in a head
    That's to be let unfurnished.
  • When Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter,"
    And proved it,—'Twas no matter what he said.
    • Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto IX, Stanza 1. Allusion to a dissertation by Berkeley on Mind and Matter, found in a note by Dr. Hawkesworth to Swift's Letters, pub. 1769.
  • 'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle,
    Should let itself be snuff'd out by an article.
  • The mind which does not have a place to turn or any stable base will undergo change from hour to hour and from minute to minute due to the variety of its distractions. ... By the things that come to it from outside it will be continually transformed.
  • The progress of the individual mind is not only an illustration, but an indirect evidence of that of the general mind. The point of departure of the individual and of the race being the same, the phases of the mind of a man correspond to the epochs of the mind of the race. Now, each of us is aware, if he looks back upon his own history, that he was a theologian in his childhood, a metaphysician in his youth, and a natural philosopher in his manhood. All men who are up to their age can verify this for themselves.
  • He, therefore, who fixes a limit of any kind to his intellectual attainments dwarfs himself, and cramps the growth of that mind given to us by the Creator, and capable of indefinite expansion.
    • William H. Crogman, "The Importance of Correct Ideals" (1892), in Talks for the Times (1896), p. 282
  • The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore so it eats it! (It's rather like getting tenure.)
  • You know you have a brain the way you know you have a spleen: by hearsay. You are... acquainted... so intimately that you might even say that you are your mind. (That’s what Descartes said: ...he was mind, a res cogitans, or thinking thing.) ...If it occurred to you to wonder whether you... had a mind... you would immediately realize, as Descartes... that your very wondering... demonstrated... that you... have a mind. This suggests that each of us knows exactly one mind from the inside, and no two of us know the same mind from the inside.
    • Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness (1996) Ch. 1. What Kinds of Minds Are There? Knowing Your Own Mind.
  • The scientific course is to put the burden of proof on the attribution. As a scientist, you can't just declare, for instance, that the presence of glutamate molecules... amounts to the presence of mind; you have to prove it, against a background in which the "null hypothesis" is that mind is not present. ...There is substantial disagreement among scientists as to which species have what sorts of mind, but even those scientists who are the most ardent champions of consciousness in animals accept this burden of proof—and think they can meet it, by devising and confirming theories that show which animals are conscious. But no such theories are yet confirmed, and in the meantime we can appreciate the discomfort of those who see this agnostic, wait-and-see policy as jeopardizing the moral status of creatures that they are sure are conscious.
    • Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness (1996) Ch. 1. What Kinds of Minds Are There? We Mind-Havers, We Minders.
  • [W]e are tempted to draw a problematic conclusion: there could be entities who do have minds but who cannot tell us what they are thinking... because they have no capacity for language... [M]inds are the ultimate terra incognita, beyond the reach of all science and—in the case of languageless minds—beyond all empathetic conversation as well. ...[H]umility ought to temper our curiosity. Don't confuse ontological questions (about what exists) with epistemological questions (about how we know about it). We must grow comfortable with this wonderful fact about what is off-limits to inquiry.
    • Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds Of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness (1996) Ch. 1. What Kinds of Minds Are There? 'The Problem of Incommunicative Minds'.
  • [A]nother prospect to consider is that among the creatures who lack language, there are some who do not have minds at all, but do everything "automatically" or "unconsciously." …We may never be able to tell where to draw the line between those creatures that have minds and those that do not, but this is just another aspect of the unavoidable limitations on our knowledge. Such facts may be systematically unknowable, not just hard to uncover.
    • Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds Of Minds (1996) Ch. 1. What Kinds of Minds Are There? 'The Problem of Incommunicative Minds'.
  • [T]he differences between minds would then be like the differences between languages, or styles of music or art—inexhaustible in the limit, but approachable to any degree of approximation you like. But the difference between having a mind and not having a mind at all—between being something with its own subjective point of view and being something that is all outside and no inside, like a rock or a discarded sliver of fingernail—is apparently an all-or-nothing difference.
    • Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds Of Minds) Ch. 1. What Kinds of Minds Are There? 'The Problem of Incommunicative Minds'.
  • It appears that the tendency of mind to infiltrate and control matter is a law of the universe. Individual minds die and individual planets may be destroyed. But... The infiltration of mind into the universe will not be permanently halted by any catastrophe or by any barrier that I can imagine. If our species does not choose to lead the way, others will do so, or may have already done so. If our species is extinguished, others will be wiser or luckier. Mind is patient. Mind has waited for 3 billion years before composing its first string quartet.
  • I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
  • Matter in quantum mechanics is not an inert substance but an active agent, constantly making choices between alternative possibilities according to probabilistic laws. ...It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every electron. ...Our brains appear to be devices for the amplification of the mental component of the quantum choices made by molecules inside our heads. ...There is evidence from peculiar features of the laws of nature that the universe as a whole is hospitable to the growth of mind. ...an extension of the Anthropic Principle up to a universal scale.
  • Mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience; all else is remote inference.
  • However closely we may associate thought with the physical machinery of the brain, the connection is dropped as irrelevant as soon as we consider the fundamental property of thought—that it may be correct or incorrect. ...that involves recognising a domain of the other type of law—laws which ought to be kept, but may be broken.
  • When the object of sense is very violent, it injures sense at once, so that sense, after its occurrence, cannot immediately discern its weaker objects. Thus extreme brightness offends the eye, and a very loud noise offends the ears. Mind, however, is otherwise; by its most excellent object it is neither injured nor ever confused. Nay, rather, after this object is known, it distinguishes inferior things at once more clearly and more truly.
    • Marsilio Ficino, Five Questions Concerning the Mind (1495) as translated by J. L. Burroughs in The Renaissance Philosophy of Man (1948).
  • Cognition... is not an individual process of any theoretical particular consciousness. Rather it is the result of a social activity, since the existing stock of knowledge exceeds the range available to any individual.
  • Science does progress toward more adequate understanding of the empirical world, but no pristine, objective reality lies "out there" for us to capture as our technologies improve and our concepts mature. The human mind is both an amazing instrument and a fierce impediment—and the mind must be interposed between observation and understanding. Thus we will always "see" with the aid (or detriment) of conventions. All observation is a partnership between mind and nature, and all good partnerships require compromise. The mind, we trust, will be constrained by a genuine external reality; this reality, in turn, must be conveyed to the brain by our equally imperfect senses, all jury-rigged and cobbled together by that maddeningly complex process known as evolution.
    • Stephen Jay Gould, "Last Snails and Right Minds," Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (1995)
  • Mind is mysterious and has myriad appearances. It cannot be identified in the way external objects can. It has no shape, form or colour. This mere clear awareness is of the nature of experience and feeling. It is something like colored water—although the water is not of the same nature as the color, so long as they are mixed, the true color of the water is not obvious. Similarly, the mind does not have the nature of external objects such as physical form, and so forth. However the mind is so habituated to following the five sensory consciousnesses that it becomes almost indistinguishable from the physical form, shape, color and so forth, that it experiences.
  • Your life doesn't get any better than your mind is: You might have wonderful friends, perfect health, a great career, and everything else you want, and you can still be miserable. The converse is also true: There are people who basically have nothing—who live in circumstances that you and I would do more or less anything to avoid—who are happier than we tend to be because of the character of their minds. Unfortunately, one glimpse of this truth is never enough. We have to be continually reminded of it.
  • The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not of course our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown exist as thoughts.
  • "Some," answered Imlac, "have indeed said that the soul is material, but I can scarcely believe that any man has thought it, who knew how to think; for all the conclusions of reason enforce the immateriality of mind, and all the notices of sense and investigations of science, concur to prove the unconsciousness of matter.
  • [Imlac continues] "It was never supposed that cogitation is inherent in matter, or that every particle is a thinking being. Yet, if any part of matter be devoid of thought, what part can we suppose to think? Matter can differ from matter only in form, density, bulk, motion, and direction of motion: to which of these, however varied or combined, can consciousness be annexed? To be round or square, to be solid or fluid, to be great or little, to be moved slowly or swiftly one way or another, are modes of material existence, all equally alien from the nature of cogitation. If matter be once without thought, it can only be made to think by some new modification, but all the modifications which it can admit are equally unconnected with cogitative powers."
  • I believe that the mind may make its own immortality: thought is the spiritual part of existence; and so long as my mind influences others, so long as my thoughts remain behind, so long shall my spirit be conscious and immortal. The body may perish—not so the essence which survives in the living and lasting page.
  • In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind, there are no limits... In the province of connected minds, what the network believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the network's mind there are no limits.
  • 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 light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
  • With knowledge you attract minds and with good manners you attract hearts.
  • Nothing exists outside Mind. Everything that appears in your thoughts is Mind itself. This Mind is all pervading. All dharmas, all things, all phenomenon—all are nothing but Mind.
  • The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
  • Some form of self-awareness is surely essential to highly intelligent thought... On the other hand, I doubt that any part of a mind can see very deeply into other parts; it can only use models it constructs of them.
  • Each agent needs to know which of its servants can do what, but as to how, that information has no place or use inside those tiny minds inside our minds.
  • The nature of mind: much of its power seems to stem from just the messy ways its agents cross-connect. ... It's only what we must expect from evolution's countless tricks.
  • Good theories of the mind must span at least three different scales of time: slow, for the billions of years in which our brains have survivied; fast, for the fleeting weeks and months of childhood; and in between, the centuries of growth of our ideas through history.
  • Mind has come up with this brilliant way of looking at the world — science — but it can’t look at itself. Science has no place for the mind. The whole of our science is based upon empirical, repeatable experiments. Whereas thought is not in that category, you can’t take thought into a laboratory. The essential fact of our existence, perhaps the only fact of our existence – our own thought and perception is ruled off-side by the science it has invented. Science looks at the universe, doesn’t see itself there, doesn’t see mind there, so you have a world in which mind has no place. We are still no nearer to coming to terms with the actual dynamics of what consciousness is.
  • If you think about it, the inside of your own mind is the only thing you can be sure of.
    • Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 2. How Do We Know Anything?
  • Sich häuten. – Die Schlange, welche sich nicht häuten kann, geht zugrunde. Ebenso die Geister, welche man verhindert, ihre Meinungen zu wechseln; sie hören auf, Geist zu sein.
    • To skin oneself. The snake that cannot shed its skin must die. Even so minds hindered from changing their opinions, they cease to be minds.
  • Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
All our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor to think well; this is the principle of morality.
  • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, #347, W. F. Trotter, trans. (New York: 1958)
  • In how many minds
    should I go crazy?
    whom should I ask?
  • I salute my desires with a bow.,
    were it not for them to come and play
    mind would be empty just like me.
  • That which possesses discriminating awareness, that which possesses a sense of duality—which grasps or rejects something external—that is mind. Fundamentally it is that which can associate with an 'other'—with a 'something', that is perceived as different from the perceiver.
  • The mind within the senses does not dwell, It has no place in outer things, like form, And in between, the mind does not abide;
    Not out, not in, not elsewhere can the mind be found.
    Something not within the body, and yet nowhere else, That does not merge with it nor stand apart—
    Something such as this does not exist, not even slightly. Beings have nirvana in their nature.
  • Mind, for anything perception can compass, goes therefore in our spatial world more ghostly than a ghost. Invisible, intangible, it is a thing not even of outline; it is not a 'thing'. It remains without sensual confirmation, and remains without it for ever.
  • If the mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.
To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be. ~ Eckhart Tolle
  • Because our minds need to reduce information, we are more likely to try to squeeze a phenomenon into the Procrustean bed of a crisp and known category (amputating the unknown), rather than suspend categorization, and make it tangible. Thanks to our detections of false patterns, along with real ones, what is random will appear less random and more certain—our overactive brains are more likely to impose the wrong, simplistic, narrative than no narrative at all.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Postface, p. 105.
  • Emphatically did the Buddha proclaim again and again that man is in full possession of all the resources needed for self-help. The most simple and most comprehensive way in which he spoke about these resources is this method of Satipaṭṭhāna. Its essence may be compressed into two words: “Be mindful!” That means: Be mindful of your own mind! And why? Mind harbours all: the world of suffering and its origin, but also ill’s final cessation and the path to it. Whether one or the other will be predominant depends again on our own mind, on the direction that the flux of mind receives through this very moment of mind-activity that faces us just now. Satipaṭṭhāna, always dealing with this crucial present moment of mind activity, must necessarily be a teaching of self-reliance. But self-reliance must be gradually developed, because men, knowing not how to handle the tool of the mind, have become used to leaning on others and on habit; and, owing to that, this splendid tool, the human mind, has in fact become unreliable through neglect.
  • Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance... The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly - you usually don't use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.
  • Just because you can solve a crossword puzzle or build an atom bomb doesn't mean that you use your mind. Just as dogs love to chew bones, the mind loves to get its teeth into problems. That's why it does crossword puzzles and builds atom bombs. You have no interest in either. Let me ask you this: can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the "off" button?... You mean stop thinking altogether? No, I can't, except maybe for a moment or two... Then the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don't even know that you are its slave. It's almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity - the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity.
  • The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can... When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind...
    When you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.
  • The pain that you create now is always some form of non acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind.
    • Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 25
  • You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection - you cannot cope with the future. Moreover, as long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life, as I pointed out earlier. Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defense mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This, by the way, is the case even if the ego is outwardly very confident. Now remember that an emotion is the body's reaction to your mind. What message is the body receiving continuously from the ego, the false, mind-made self? Danger, I am under threat. And what is the emotion generated by this continuous message? Fear, of course.
  • Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego's fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life. For example, even such a seemingly trivial and "normal" thing as the compulsive need to be right in an argument and make the other person wrong - defending the mental position with which you have identified - is due to the fear of death. If you identify with a mental position, then if you are wrong, your mind-based sense of self is seriously threatened with annihilation. So you as the ego cannot afford to be wrong. To be wrong is to die.
  • Why does the mind habitually deny or resist the Now? Because it cannot function and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.
    • Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997)
  • If you have ever been in a life-or-death emergency situation, you will know that it wasn't a problem. The mind didn't have time to fool around and make it into a problem. In a true emergency, the mind stops; you become totally present in the Now, and something infinitely more powerful takes over. This is why there are many reports of ordinary people suddenly becoming capable of incredibly courageous deeds.
  • Most humans are still in the grip of the egoic mode of consciousness: identified with their mind and run by their mind. If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience increasing confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet.
  • If it weren't for alcohol, tranquilizers, antidepressants, as well as the illegal drugs, which are all consumed in vast quantities, the insanity of the human mind would become even more glaringly obvious than it is already. I believe that, if deprived of their drugs, a large part of the population would become a danger to themselves and others. These drugs, of course, simply keep you stuck in dysfunction. Their widespread use only delays the breakdown of the old [egoic] mind structures and the emergence of higher consciousness. While individual users may get some relief from the daily torture inflicted on them by their minds, they are prevented from generating enough conscious presence to rise above thought and so find true liberation.
  • What you perceive as a dense physical structure called the body, which is subject to disease, old age, and death, is not ultimately real - is not you. It is a misperception of your essential reality that is beyond birth and death, and is due to the limitations of your mind, which, having lost touch with Being, creates the body as evidence of its illusory belief in separation and to justify its state of fear. But do not turn away from the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death that you perceive as the illusory creation of your mind is concealed the splendor of your essential and immortal reality. Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for the Truth, for it is nowhere else to be found but within your body.
    Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality. You are your body. The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested. Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life - birthless, deathless, eternally present. Through the inner body, you are forever one with God. p. 75
  • Do not give all your attention away to the mind and the external world. By all means focus on what you are doing, but feel the inner body at the same time whenever possible. Stay rooted within. Then observe how this changes your state of consciousness and the quality of what you are doing. Whenever you are waiting, wherever it may be, use that time to feel the inner body. In this way, traffic jams and line-ups become very enjoyable. Instead of mentally projecting yourself away from the Now, go more deeply into the Now by going more deeply into the body. The art of inner-body awareness will develop into a completely new way of living, a state of permanent connectedness with Being, and will add a depth to your life that you have never known before. It is easy to stay present as the observer of your mind when you are deeply rooted within your body. No matter what happens on the outside, nothing can shake you anymore. p. 76
  • When such challenges come, as they always do, make it a habit to go within at once and focus as much as you can on the inner energy field of your body. This need not take long, just a few seconds. But you need to do it the moment that the challenge presents itself. Any delay will allow a conditioned mental-emotional reaction to arise and take you over. When you focus within and feel the inner body, you immediately become still and present as you are withdrawing consciousness from the mind. If a response is required in that situation, it will come up from this deeper level. Just as the sun is infinitely brighter than a candle flame, there is infinitely more intelligence in Being than in your mind. As long as you are in conscious contact with your inner body, you are like a tree that is deeply rooted in the earth, or a building with a deep and solid foundation. p. 77
  • Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease. The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by "watching the thinker," which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence. When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, p. 17, (2005)
  • The predominance of mind is no more than a stage in the evolution of consciousness. We need to go on to the next stage now as a matter of urgency; otherwise, we will be destroyed by the mind, which has grown into a monster. I will talk about this in more detail later. Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought. Enlightenment means rising above thought, not falling back to a level below thought, the level of an animal or a plant. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, p. 20, (2005)
  • Most humans are still in the grip of the egoic mode of consciousness: identified with their mind and run by their mind. If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience increasing confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, p. 67, (2005)
  • It's a great question about what is our mind. Undoubtedly a creation of our brain.
    • Jerzy Vetulani, Stań się dobrym. To się opłaca (interview), „Gazeta Wyborcza”, 24–26 December 2011.
  • Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality.
    • George Wald as quoted by Jenny Wade in Changes of Mind: A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness (1996), p. 2, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0791428508.
  • The marvelous collection of forces which appear to control matter, if not actually to constitute it, are and must be mind products.
  • Nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent, the nightingale for its song, and the sun for its radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellence of the human mind.
    • Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (1925), as cited in History, Humanity and Evolution (1989), p. 383.
  • No scientist has yet provided an acceptable definition of "mind" or "mental" that reveals the character of "unconscious mental processes," and no physicist a lucid definition of "elementary particles" that shows how they can appear or disappear, and why there are so many.
  • The material particle or the conscious mind—has been discovered not to be sufficiently unchanging to be treated as a thing in isolation... but more often to be the opposite: a changing system in a changing environment.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 513-16.
  • I had rather believe all the fables in the Legends and the Talmud and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind.
  • That last infirmity of noble mind.
    • The Tragedy of Sir John Van Olden Barnevelt (1622).
  • All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have not any subsistence without a mind.
  • Measure your mind's height by the shade it casts.
  • The march of the human mind is slow.
  • I love my neighbor as myself,
    Myself like him too, by his leave,
    Nor to his pleasure, power or pelf
    Came I to crouch, as I conceive.
    Dame Nature doubtless has designed
    A man the monarch of his mind.
  • Constant attention wears the active mind,
    Blots out our pow'rs, and leaves a blank behind.
  • Animi cultus quasi quidam humanitatis cibus.
    • The cultivation of the mind is a kind of food supplied for the soul of man.
    • Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, V. 19.
  • Frons est animi janua.
    • The forehead is the gate of the mind.
    • Cicero, Oratio De Provinciis Consularibus, XI.
  • Morbi perniciores pluresque animi quam corporis.
    • The diseases of the mind are more and more destructive than those of the body.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, III. 3.
  • In anime perturbato, sicut in corpore, sanitas esse non potest.
    • In a disturbed mind, as in a body in the same state, health can not exist.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, III. 4.
  • Absence of occupation is not rest,
    A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd.
  • His mind his kingdom, and his will his law.
  • How fleet is a glance of the mind!
    Compared with the speed of its flight,
    The tempest itself lags behind,
    And the swift-winged arrows of light.
  • Nature's first great title—mind.
  • As that the walls worn thin, permit the mind
    To look out through, and his Frailty find.
  • Babylon in all its desolation is a sight not so awful as that of the human mind in ruins.
  • My mynde to me a kingdome is
    Such preasent joyes therein I fynde
    That it excells all other blisse
    That earth afforde or growes by kynde
    Though muche I wante which moste would have
    Yet still my mynde forbiddes to crave.
    • Edward Dyer, Rawlinson MSS, 85, p. 17. (In the Bodleian Library at Oxford). Words changed by Byrd when he set it to music. Quoted by Ben Jonson, Every Man out of his Humour, I. 1. Found in Percy's Reliques. Series I, Book III. No. V. And in J. Sylvester's Works, p. 651.
  • My minde to me a kingdome is,
    Such perfect joy therein I finde
    As farre exceeds all earthly blisse
    That God or Nature hath assignde
    Though much I want that most would have
    Yet still my minde forbids to crave.
    • William Byrd's rendering of Dyer's verse, when he set it to music. See his Psalmen, Sonets and Songs made into Musicke. Printed by Thomas East. (No date. Later edition, 1588).
  • God is Mind, and God is all; hence all is Mind.
  • A great mind is a good sailor, as a great heart is.
  • Wer fertig ist, dem ist nichts recht zu machen,
    Ein Werdender wird immer dankbar sein.
    • A mind, once formed, is never suited after,
      One yet in growth will ever grateful be.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Vorspiel auf dem Theater, line 150.
  • Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
    That bliss which only centers in the mind.
  • A noble mind disdains to hide his head,
    And let his foes triumph in his overthrow.
  • The mind is like a sheet of white paper in this, that the impressions it receives the oftenest, and retains the longest, are black ones.
    • J. C. and A. W. Hare, Guesses at Truth.
  • Lumen siccum optima anima.
    • The most perfect mind is a dry light.
    • The "obscure saying" of Heraclitus, quoted by Bacon, who explains it as a mind not "steeped and infused in the humors of the affections".
  • Whose little body lodged a mighty mind.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book V, line 999. Pope's translation.
  • A faultless body and a blameless mind.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book III, line 138. Pope's translation.
  • The glory of a firm capacious mind.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book IV, line 262. Pope's translation.
  • And bear unmov'd the wrongs of base mankind,
    The last, and hardest, conquest of the mind.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIII, line 353. Pope's translation.
  • Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
    Alteram sortem, bene preparatum
    • A well-prepared mind hopes in adversity and fears in prosperity.
    • Horace, Carmina, II. 10. 13.
  • Quæ lædunt oculum festinas demere; si quid
    Est animum, differs curandi tempus in annum.
    • If anything affects your eye, you hasten to have it removed; if anything affects your mind, you postpone the cure for a year.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 238.
  • Acclinis falsis animus meliora recusat.
    • A mind that is charmed by false appearances refuses better things.
    • Horace, Satire, II. 2. 6.
  • Quin corpus onustum
    Hesternis vitiis, animum quoque prægravat una
    Atque affigit humo divinæ particulam auræ.
    • The body loaded by the excess of yesterday, depresses the mind also, and fixes to the ground this particle of divine breath.
    • Horace, Satires, II. 2. 77.
  • The true, strong, and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small.
  • What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind.
    • T. H. Key, once Head Master of University School, On the authority of F. J. Furnivall.
  • Seven Watchmen sitting in a tower,
    Watching what had come upon Mankind,
    Showed the Man the Glory and the Power
    And bade him shape the Kingdom to his mind.
    . . . . . .
    That a man's mind is wont to tell him more
    Than Seven Watchmen sitting in a tower.
  • La gravité est un mystère du corps inventé pour cacher les défauts de l'esprit.
  • Nobody, I believe, will deny, that we are to form our judgment of the true nature of the human mind, not from sloth and stupidity of the most degenerate and vilest of men, but from the sentiments and fervent desires of the best and wisest of the species.
    • Robert Leighton, Theological Lectures, No. 5, "Of the Immortality of the Soul".
  • Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God's providence, for the benefit of others.
  • Stern men with empires in their brains.
  • O miseras hominum menteis! oh, pectora cæca!
    • How wretched are the minds of men, and how blind their understandings.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II. 14.
  • Cum corpore ut una
    Crescere sentimus pariterque senescere mentem
    Italic text.
    • We plainly perceive that the mind strengthens and decays with the body.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III. 446.
  • Rationi nulla resistunt.
    Claustra nec immensæ moles, ceduntque recessus:
    Omnia succumbunt, ipsum est penetrabile cœlum.
    • No barriers, no masses of matter, however enormous, can withstand the powers of the mind the remotest corners yield to them; all things succumb, the very heaven itself is laid open.
    • Marcus Manilius, Astronomica. I. 541.
  • Clothed, and in his right mind.
    • Mark. V. 15; Luke, VIII. 35.
  • The social states of human kinds
    Are made by multitudes of minds,
    And after multitudes of years
    A little human growth appears
    Worth having, even to the soul
    Who sees most plain it's not the whole.
  • Mensque pati durum sustinet ægra nihil.
    • The sick mind can not bear anything harsh.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 5. 18.
  • Mens sola loco non exulat.
    • The mind alone can not be exiled.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, IV. 9. 41.
  • Conscia mens recti famæ mendacia risit.
    • A mind conscious of right laughs at the falsehoods of rumour.
    • Ovid, Fasti, Book IV. 311.
  • Pro superi! quantum mortalia pectora cæcæ,
    Noctis habent.
    • Heavens! what thick darkness pervades the minds of men.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, VI. 472.
  • It is the mind that makes the man, and our vigour is in our immortal soul.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, XIII.
  • Corpore sed mens est ægro magis ægra; malique
    In circumspectu stat sine fine sui.
    • The mind is sicker than the sick body; in contemplation of its sufferings it becomes hopeless.
    • Ovid, Tristium, IV. 6. 43.
  • Be ye all of one mind.
    • I Peter, III. 8.
  • Animus quod perdidit optat,
    Atque in præterita se totus imagine versat.
    • The mind wishes for what it has missed, and occupies itself with retrospective contemplation.
    • Petronius Arbiter, Satyricon.
  • Habet cerebrum sensus arcem; hic mentis est regimen.
    • The brain is the citadel of the senses: this guides the principle of thought.
    • Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, XI. 49. 2.
  • Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.
  • Love, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,
    Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of pain,
    These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd
    Make and maintain the balance of the mind.
  • My mind's my kingdom.
  • Mens mutatione recreabitur; sicut in cibis, quorum diversitate reficitur stomachus, et pluribus minore fastidio alitur.
    • Our minds are like our stomachs; they are whetted by the change of their food, and variety supplies both with fresh appetite.
    • Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, I. 11. 1.
  • Whose cockloft is unfurnished.
  • Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
    • Romans, XIV. 5.
  • Tanto è miser l'uom quant' ei si riputa.
    • Man is only miserable so far as he thinks himself so.
    • Jacopo Sannazaro, Ecloga Octava.
  • Magnam fortunam magnus animus decet.
  • Valentior omni fortuna animus est: in utramque partem ipse res suas ducit, beatæque miseræ vitæ sibi causa est.
    • The mind is the master over every kind of fortune: itself acts in both ways, being the cause of its own happiness and misery.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XCVIII.
  • For I do not distinguish them by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge of the man.
  • Mens bona regnum possidet.
  • O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword!
  • The incessant care and labour of his mind
    Hath wrought the mure that should confine it in
    So thin that life looks through and will break out.
  • And when the mind is quicken'd, out of doubt,
    The organs, though defunct and dead before,
    Break up their drowsy grave and newly move
    With casted slough and fresh legerity.
  • 'Tis pity bounty had not eyes behind,
    That man mignt ae'er be wretched for his mind.
  • Now, the melancholy god protect thee; and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal.
  • Not body enough to cover his mind decently with; his intellect is improperly exposed.
  • I feel no care of coin;
    Well-doing is my wealth;
    My mind to me an empire is,
    While grace affordeth health.
  • Man's mind a mirror is of heavenly sights,
    A brief wherein all marvels summèd lie,
    Of fairest forms and sweetest shapes the store,
    Most graceful all, yet thought may grace them more.
  • I'm all stacked up over LaGuardia and I ain't coming down for anyone, not even you. ** Robert Downey, Putney Swope (SpaceDancer).
  • A flower more sacred than far-seen success
    Perfumes my solitary path; I find
    Sweet compensation in my humbleness,
    And reap the harvest of a quiet mind.
  • Mens sibi conscia recti.
    • A mind conscious of its own rectitude.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), I. 604.
  • Mens agitat molem.
  • Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futuræ,
    Et servare modum, rebus sublata secundis.
    • The mind of man is ignorant of fate and future destiny, and can not keep within due bounds when elated by prosperity.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), X. 501.
  • The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
    Lets in new light through chinks that Time has made.
    • Waller, Verses upon his Divine Poesy; compare Longinus, De Sab, Section XXII.
  • Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are alternately answered.
    • Daniel Webster, address at the Laying of the Corner Stone of the Bunker Hill Monument.
  • You will turn it over once more in what you are pleased to call your mind.
    • Lord Westbury, to a solicitor. See Nash, Life of Lord Westbury, Volume II, p. 292.
  • A man of hope and forward-looking mind.
  • In years that bring the philosophic mind.
  • Minds that have nothing to confer
    Find little to perceive.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)

  • A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance", Essays: First Series (vol. 2 of The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson), p. 57 (1903).
  • The mind is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity…. The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
    • Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, no. 2, March 24, 1750. The Rambler; A Periodical Paper, Published in 1750, 1751, 1752, p. 3 (1825).
  • Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of Democracy, and while guided and controlled by virtue, the noblest attribute of man. It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge, and the only security which freemen desire.
    • Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas, first message to both houses of Congress of the Republic of Texas, Houston, Texas, December 21, 1838.—The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, ed. Charles A. Gulick, Jr., vol. 2, p. 348 (1922). "When a public school was a novelty and the Republic's treasury and credit were at their lowest, only a daring mind and a champion of enlightened liberty could have conceived the idea for insuring the education of the future Texas generations". Philip Graham, The Life and Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar, p. 53 (1938).
  • If there is anything in the world that can really be called a man's property, it is surely that which is the result of his mental activity.
    • Attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work on brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble to dust. But if we work on men's immortal minds, if we impress on them high principles, the just fear of God, and love for their fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which no time can efface, and which will brighten and brighten to all eternity.
    • Daniel Webster, speech to the City Council, Boston, Massachusetts, May 22, 1852. The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster, vol. 13, p. 518–19 (1903).

See also


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