Ideas in the mind are the transcript of the world; words are the transcript of ideas; and writing and printing are the transcript of words.
If the ancients left us ideas, to our credit be it spoken, we moderns are building houses for them.
Our land is not more the recipient of the men of all countries than of their ideas.
He who wishes to fulfill his mission in the world must be a man of one idea, that is of one great overmastering purpose, overshadowing all his aims, and guiding and controlling his entire life.
Ideas are cosmopolitan.—They have the liberty of the world.—You have no right to take the sword and cross the bounds of other nations, and enforce on them laws or institutions they are unwilling to receive.—But there is no limit to the sphere of ideas. Your thoughts and feelings, the whole world lies open to them, and you have the right to send them into any latitude, and to give them sweep around the earth, to the mind of every human being.
When young men are beginning life, the most important period, it is often said, is that in which their habits are formed.—That is a very important period.—But the period in which the ideas of the young are formed and adopted is more important still.—For the ideal with which you go forth to measure things determines the nature, so far as you are concerned, of everything you meet.
Bred to think as well as speak by vote, we furnish our minds, as we furnish our houses, with the fancies of others, and according to the mode and age of our country.—We pick up our ideas and notions in common conversation, as in schools.
Our ideas, like orange-plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots.
To the thinker, the most trifling external object often suggests ideas, which extend, link after link, from earth to heaven.
Events are only the shells of ideas; and often it is the fluent thought of ages that is crystallized in a moment by the stroke of a pen or the point of a bayonet.
Ideas make their way in silence like the waters that, filtering behind the rocks of the Alps, loosen them from the mountains on which they rest.
An idea, like a ghost, according to the common notion of ghosts, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
Old ideas are prejudices, and new ones caprices.
Temples have their images; and we see what influence they have always had over a great part of mankind.—But, in truth, the ideas and images in men's minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them; and to these they all pay universally a ready submission.
Ideas control the world.
Ideas are the great warriors of the world, and a war that has no idea behind it is simply a brutality.
In these days we fight for ideas, and newspapers are our fortresses.
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up. That which was a weed in one becomes a flower in the other, and a flower again dwindles down to a mere weed by the same change. Healthy growths may become poisonous by falling upon the wrong mental soil, and what seemed a nightshade in one mind unfolds as a morning-glory in the other.
A healthful hunger for a great idea is the beauty and blessedness of life.
A vague recollection fills my mind, an image dazzling, but undefined, like the memory of a gorgeous dream.—It crowds my brain confusedly, but will not stay.—It changes like the tremulous sunshine on the wave, till imagination itself is dazzled, bewildered, overpowered.
A soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties.
Ideas go booming through the world louder than cannon. Thoughts are mightier than armies. Principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots.
A great idea is usually original to more than one discoverer.—Great ideas come when the world needs them.—They surround the world's ignorance and press for admission.
By what strange law of mind is it that an idea long overlooked, and trodden under foot as a useless stone, suddenly sparkles out in new light as a discovered diamond?
To have ideas is to gather flowers; to think, is to weave them into garlands.
Ideas, though vivid and real, are often indefinite, and are shy of the close furniture of words.
Ideas are the factors that lift civilization. They create revolutions. There is more dynamite in an idea than in many bombs.
Ideas are like beards; men do not have them until they grow up.