If I could just keep my stupid mind together…

— Sparklehorse, “Sick of Goodbyes


Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?

— Francis Bacon, “Of Truth”


But how it is possible that a soul rich in the knowledge of so many things should not thereby become keener and more alert, and that a crude and commonplace mind can harbor within itself, without being improved, the reasonings and judgments of the greatest minds that the world has produced—that still has me puzzled.

— Montaigne, “Of Pedantry”


‘I must really improve my mind,’ I tell myself, and once more begin to patch and repair that crazy structure. So I toil and toil on at the vain task of edification, though the wind tears off the tiles, the floors give way, the ceilings fall, strange birds build untidy nests in the rafters, and owls hoot and laugh in the tumbling chimneys.

— Logan Pearsall Smith, All Trivia: A Collection of Reflections & Aphorisms


In optimistic moments I tell myself that I have found the world so interesting that I have been unable to confine my attention to any one subject; in pessimistic ones, that I am by nature lazy and impatient to have done so, with the result that my mind is like a magpie’s nest, full of bright things, perhaps, but overall a mess.

— Theodore Dalrymple, The Pleasure of Thinking: A Journey through the Sideways Leaps of Ideas