„The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.“

Source: East of Eden

Last update June 3, 2021. History
John Steinbeck photo
John Steinbeck366
American writer 1902 - 1968

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John Steinbeck photo

„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.“

—  John Steinbeck, book East of Eden

Variant: And 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.
Source: East of Eden (1952)
Context: And 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 religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
Context: Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in art, in music, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning blows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.
And 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 religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for it is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

Eleanor Roosevelt photo

„Human resources are the most valuable assets the world has. They are all needed desperately.“

—  Eleanor Roosevelt American politician, diplomat, and activist, and First Lady of the United States 1884 - 1962

Source: Tomorrow Is Now (1963), p. 71

Kevin Kelly photo

„If goods and services become more valuable as they become more plentiful, and if they become cheaper as they become valuable, then the natural extension of this logic says that the most valuable things of all should be those that are ubiquitous and free.“

—  Kevin Kelly American author and editor 1952

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World (1995), New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (1999)

H.P. Lovecraft photo

„The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.“

—  H.P. Lovecraft American author 1890 - 1937

Fiction, The Call of Cthulhu (1926)
Context: 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.

Rick Warren photo

„Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!“

—  Rick Warren Christian religious leader 1954

Source: The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

Alfred Marshall photo

„The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings;“

—  Alfred Marshall, book Principles of Economics

Source: Principles of Economics, (1890), p. 468 (9th ed. 2009).
Context: If we compare one country of the civilized world with another, or one part of England with another, or one trade in England with another, we find that the degradation of the working-classes varies almost uniformly with the amount of rough work done by women. The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings; and of that capital the most precious part is the result of the care and influence of the mother, so long as she retains her tender and unselfish instincts, and has not been hardened by the strain and stress of unfeminine work.

David Myatt photo

„[They] revealed to me the most important truth concerning human life. Which is that a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.“

—  David Myatt British writer 1950

Source: Myatt, David. Myngath - Some Recollections of the Wyrdful Life of David Myatt, CreateSpace, 2013, ISBN 978-1484110744

Dietrich Bonhoeffer photo

„time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable.“

—  Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi 1906 - 1945

Variant: Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable.
Source: As quoted in LIFE magazine (22 April 1957), p. 152; also in Letters and Papers from Prison (1967), p. 47.
Context: Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back upon the time which we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering. Time lost is time not filled, time left empty.

Theophrastus photo

„Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.“

—  Theophrastus ancient greek philosopher -371 - -287 BC

Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Book 5.
Original: (el) Συνεχές τε … πολυτελὲς ἀνάλωμα εἶναι τὸν χρόνον.

H. G. Wells photo

„Phase by phase these ill-adapted governments are becoming uncontrolled absolutisms; they are killing that free play of the individual mind which is the preservative of human efficiency and happiness“

—  H. G. Wells English writer 1866 - 1946

The Rights of Man, or what are we fighting for? (1940)
Context: Throughout the whole world we see variations of this same subordination of the individual to the organisation of power. Phase by phase these ill-adapted governments are becoming uncontrolled absolutisms; they are killing that free play of the individual mind which is the preservative of human efficiency and happiness. The populations under their sway, after a phase of servile discipline, are plainly doomed to relapse into disorder and violence. Everywhere war and monstrous economic exploitation break out, so that those very same increments of power and opportunity which have brought mankind within sight of an age of limitless plenty, seem likely to be lost again, it may be lost forever, in an ultimate social collapse.

Robert G. Ingersoll photo
Albert Einstein photo

„Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Misattributed
Source: This appears to originate in April 2014 with an unsourced entry in picturequotes: http://www.picturequotes.com/striving-quotes


Ref: en.wikiquote.org - Albert Einstein / Misattributed

Albert Einstein photo

„Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.“

—  Albert Einstein, book The Evolution of Physics

The Evolution of Physics (1938) (co-written with Leopold Infeld) <!-- later published by Simon & Schuster (1967) -->
1930s
Context: Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth.

Nadine Gordimer photo

„It is in this sense, this inextricable, ineffable participation, that writing is always and at once an exploration of self and of the world; of individual and collective being.“

—  Nadine Gordimer South african Nobel-winning writer 1923 - 2014

Writing and Being (1991)
Context: Like the prisoners incarcerated with the jaguar in Borges' story, 'The God's Script', who was trying to read, in a ray of light which fell only once a day, the meaning of being from the marking on the creature's pelt, we spend our lives attempting to interpret through the word the readings we take in the societies, the world of which we are part. It is in this sense, this inextricable, ineffable participation, that writing is always and at once an exploration of self and of the world; of individual and collective being.

John F. Kennedy photo

„Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963

Re: United States Committee for UNICEF (25 July 1963); Box 11, President's Outgoing Executive Correspondence Series, White House Central Chronological File, Presidential Papers, Papers of John F. Kennedy http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/JFK-Quotations.aspx
1963

Mark Twain photo

„Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.“

—  Mark Twain, book Following the Equator

Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Ch. VII
Following the Equator (1897)

„Science fiction encourages us to explore… all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision.“

—  Marion Zimmer Bradley Novelist, editor 1930 - 1999

As quoted in The Faces of Science Fiction (1984) by Patti Perret

African Spir photo

„There is only one thing in the world that is really valuable, it is to do good.“

—  African Spir Russian philosopher 1837 - 1890

Source: Words of a Sage : Selected thoughts of African Spir (1937), p. 56.

Patrick Modiano photo
Diogenes Laërtius photo

„It was a favourite expression of Theophrastus that time was the most valuable thing that a man could spend.“

—  Diogenes Laërtius biographer of ancient Greek philosophers 180 - 240

Theophrastus, 10.
The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (c. 200 A.D.), Book 5: The Peripatetics

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