Freedom of the mind

"You can cage the singer but not the song."

Caribbean-American singer and actor (1927-)

"The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love Born out of concern for all beings."

Siddhartha Gotoma or BUDDHA
(probably from 563 to 483 B.C.)

"He that complies against his will, Is of his own opinion still."

English novelist (1825-1902)

"A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood."


"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Italian astronomer, mathematician, and physicist (1564-1642)

"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within."

Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) GANDHI
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869-1948)

"Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men."

Marcus Moziah GARVEY
Jamaican black nationalist leader (1887-1940)

"You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing? "

Lebanese poet and novelist (1883-1931)

"Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought."

Henry Graham GREENE
English novelist and playwright (1904-91)

"From the most foul well of indifferentism flows that absurd and erroneous opinion, or rather delirium, of liberty of conscience."

Pope (1765-1846)

"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger."

U.S. activist (1936-89)

"It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question."

Découvertes, 1969
Romanian-French play-wright (1909-94)

"Intellectual liberty is the air of the soul, the sunshine of the mind and without it, the world is a prison, the Universe is a dungeon."

German-American orator and lawyer (1833-99)

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded faith."

3rd US President (1743-1826)

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."


3rd US President (1743-1826)

"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common. "

English philosopher (1632-1704)

"Thought takes man out of servitude, into freedom."

Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW
American poet (1807-1882)

"Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."

Social Reform or Revolution
German revolutionary, b. Russian Poland (1871-1919)

"Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them."

Thomas MANN
German novelist and essayist (1875-1955)

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds."

Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, and guitarist (1945-1981)

"Many times our rules are located in another time, another culture and the child has the right to challenge them, since they chose to be born on this earth. So the child has an opportunity to be curious, and they have to discover for themselves."

Rigoberta MENCHÚ TUM
Guatemalan social reformer (1959-)

"Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind."

American author (1891-1980)

"As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress."

American physicist (1904-1967)

"Thoughts are free and subject to no rule. On them rests the freedom of man, and they tower above the light of nature...create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy from which new arts flow."

Philippus Aureolus PARACELSUS
Swiss physician and alchemist, originally named Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493?-1541)

"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."

Bertrand Arthur William RUSSELL
British philosopher, mathematician, and social reformer (1872-1970)

"In my mind, prison became associated with love. Whenever I heard of a man who was or had been in prison, I felt my heart beating beneath my ribs."

Egyptian author, on the jailing of intellectuals

"You say that my way of thinking cannot be tolerated? What of it? The man who alters his way of thinking to suit others is a fool. My way of thinking is the result of my reflections. It is part of my inner being, the way I am made. I do not contradict them, and would not even if I wished to. For my system, which you disapprove of, is also my greatest comfort in life, the source of all my happiness - it means more to me than my life itself."

(Donatien Alphonse François comte de Sade) Marquis de SADE
French writer and libertine (1740-1814)

"I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind."

French aviator and writer (1900-1944)

"Intellectual freedom is essential to human society. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships."

Andrei Dmitrievich SAKHAROV
Soviet nuclear physicist and human-rights advocate (1921-1989)

"Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world."

German philosopher, b. Danzig (1788-1860)

"This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual."

American writer (1902-1968)

"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless."

On Life and Essays on Religion
Russian novelist and philosopher (1828-1910)

"Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

Virginia (Stephen) WOOLF
English novelist and essayist (1882-1941)

Last update: 26 January 2007

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