Brain Quotes and Proverbs
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881) Russian novelist
It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them—the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.
And of course, the brain is not responsible for any of the sensations at all. The correct view is that the seat and source of sensation is the region of the heart.
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.
W. Alton Jones
The man who gets the most satisfactory results is not always the man with the most brilliant single mind, but rather the man who can best coordinate the brains and talents of his associates.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
The brain gives the heart its sight. The heart gives the brain its vision.
John Milton (1608-1674), Paradise Lost
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
Borrowed brains have no value.
Gay Gaer Luce and Julius Segal (from Sleep, 1966)
Whatever any man does he first must do in his mind, whose machinery is the brain. The mind can do only what the brain is equipped to do, and so man must find out what kind of brain he has before he can understand his own behavior.
William James (1842-1910)
The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.
The heart holds answers the brain refuses to see.
Cahil et al, 1994
Emotions give a more activated and chemically stimulated brain, which helps us recall things better.
Dr. Robert K. Cooper
If we lack emotional intelligence, whenever stress rises the human brain switches to autopilot and has an inherent tendency to do more of the same, only harder. Which, more often than not, is precisely the wrong approach in today’s world.
Aristotle (from De motu animalium, 4th century B.C.)
The seat of the soul and the control of voluntary movement-in fact, of nervous functions in general,-are to be sought in the heart. The brain is an organ of minor importance.
I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.
The highest activities of consciousness have their origins in physical occurrences of the brain just as the loveliest melodies are not too sublime to be expressed by notes.
The large brain, like large government, may not be able to do simple things in a simple way.
I have a heart of mettle apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger to better vantage.
When brains are needed, brawn won’t help.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams.
William F. Allman (from Apprentices of Wonder. Inside the Neural Network Revolution, 1989)
The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Its billions of nerve cells-called neurons-lie in a tangled web that displays cognitive powers far exceeding any of the silicon machines we have built to mimic it.
You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.
Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
There are three different kinds of brains, the one understands things unassisted, the other understands things when shown by others, and the third understands neither alone nor with the explanations of others. The first kind is most excellent, the second kind also excellent, but the third useless.
A brain is worth little without a tongue.
Isaac Asimov (from the forewood to The Three-Pound Universe by J. Hooper and D. Teresi, 1986)
The human brain, then, is the most complicated organization of matter that we know.
Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead.
Brain: an apparatus with which we think that we think.
Mind, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain.
Susan Blakemore (from “Meme, Myself, I”, New Scientist, March 13, 1999)
In proportion to our body mass, our brain is three times as large as that of our nearest relatives. This huge organ is dangerous and painful to give birth to, expensive to build and, in a resting human, uses about 20 per cent of the body’s energy even though it is just 2 per cent of the body’s weight. There must be some reason for all this evolutionary expense.
A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains.
An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.
When you don’t have an education, you’ve got to use your brains.
In fear, the brain starves the heart of its bravest blood.
Charles Darwin (from Autobiography, 1887)
If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use.
Watson, describing Sherlock Holmes in “A Study in Scarlet”
You see, I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
John R. Searle
Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. (‘What else could it be?’) I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and I am told some of the ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.
The mind is like a parachute – it works only when it is open.
Longfellow, The Building of the Ship
It is the heart and not the brain
That to the highest doth attain.
It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.
A mob is a group of persons with heads but no brains.
David H. Hubel – (1981 Nobel Prize Winner)
The brain is a tissue. It is a complicated, intricately woven tissue, like nothing else we know of in the universe, but it is composed of cells, as any tissue is. They are, to be sure, highly specialized cells, but they function according to the laws that govern any other cells. Their electrical and chemical signals can be detected, recorded and interpreted and their chemicals can be identified; the connections that constitute the brain’s woven feltwork can be mapped. In short, the brain can be studied, just as the kidney can.
He who at thirty has no brains, will never purchase an estate.
G. W. Parry (1601)
A certain Liquor which they call Coffee…which will soon intoxicate the brain.
Prof Petr Anokhin, Moscow University
We can show that each of the 10 billion neurons in the human brain has the possibility of connections to 1 with 28 noughts after it – that’s – 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 connections! It means that the total combinations in the brain, if written out, would be 1 followed by 10.5 kilometers of noughts!
My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery-always buzzing, humming, soaring, roaring, diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?
The brain may devise laws for the blood;
but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree.
If my heart could do my thinking, would my brain begin to feel?
England’s Happiness Improved (1699)
Moderately drunk, coffee removes vapours from the brain, occasioned by fumes of wine, or other strong liquors; eases pains in the head, prevents sour belchings, and provokes appetite.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Get a purge for your brain. It will do better than for your stomach.
Aldous Huxley, Doors of Perception
To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funnelled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he or she has been born — the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to he accumulated records of other people’s experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it be-devils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.
I said in Dorian Gray that the great sins of the world take place in the brain: but it is in the brain that everything takes place…. It is in the brain that the poppy is red, that the apple is odorous, that the skylark sings.
You know you’ve got to exercise your brain just like your muscles.
Colin Blakemore (from Mechanics of the Mind, 1977)
The brain struggling to understand the brain is society trying to explain itself.
If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.