„It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.“

Variant: It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
Source: Discourse on Method

Last update June 12, 2021. History
René Descartes photo
René Descartes45
French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist 1596 - 1650

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„The danger in trying to do good is that the mind comes to confuse the intent of goodness with the act of doing things well.“

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„The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.“

—  Stephen R. Covey American educator, author, businessman and motivational speaker 1932 - 2012

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„Well, I just want him to grow up happy. That's the main thing.“

—  John Lennon English singer and songwriter 1940 - 1980

Talking about his son, Julian Lennon, in Ticket to Ride : Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour That Changed the World (2003) by Larry Kane http://books.google.com/books?id=5MYmhGAmfUkC&pg=PA258&lpg=PA258&dq=%22well+i+just+want+him+to+grow+up+happy+that's+the+main+thing%22&source=web&ots=o-UOaUrmcr&sig=svkKFzayFfeFgYVwxKn0GsDysPU

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„Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that. The good shall have my hand and heart, but the bad neither foot nor fellowship. And in my mind, the main point of governing, is to make a good beginning.“

—  Miguel de Cervantes Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright 1547 - 1616

Source: Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605–1615), Part II (1615), Book III, Ch. 33, as translated by Pierre Antoine Motteux in The History of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (1701)
Variant translations:
I'm kind-hearted by nature, and full of compassion for the poor; there's no stealing the loaf from him who kneads and bakes; and by my faith it won't do to throw false dice with me; I am an old dog, and I know all about 'tus, tus;' I can be wide-awake if need be, and I don't let clouds come before my eyes, for I know where the shoe pinches me; I say so, because with me the good will have support and protection, and the bad neither footing nor access. And it seems to me that, in governments, to make a beginning is everything; and maybe, after having been governor a fortnight, I'll take kindly to the work and know more about it than the field labour I have been brought up to.
Honesty's the best policy.
Context: I was ever charitable and good to the poor, and scorn to take the bread out of another man's mouth. On the other side, by our Lady, they shall play me no foul play. I am an old cur at a crust, and can sleep dog-sleep when I list. I can look sharp as well as another, and let me alone to keep the cobwebs out of my eyes. I know where the shoe wrings me. I will know who and who is together. Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that. The good shall have my hand and heart, but the bad neither foot nor fellowship. And in my mind, the main point of governing, is to make a good beginning.

Jean de La Bruyère photo

„It is a sad thing when men have neither enough intelligence to speak well, nor enough sense to hold their tongues; this is the root of all impertinence.“

—  Jean de La Bruyère, book Les Caractères

18
Variant translation:
It is a sad thing when men have neither the wit to speak well, nor the judgment to hold their tongues.
As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: being A Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) edited by Tryon Edwards, p. 560
Les Caractères (1688), De la société et de la conversation

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„But they knew where there was a party, and I thought, well, that's good enough.“

—  Todd Snider American singer 1966

The Story of the Ballad of the Devil's Backbone Tavern.
Near Truths and Hotel Rooms (2003)
Context: (Spoken) So I called my brother... he was living in Austin. He had these friends who were letting him stay on their couch, and I figured they might have a couch that I could stay on. So, I got this ride to Austin, Texas and got to this address my brother gave me, and this guy introduced himself as "Bonehead." And I went in and started asking around; turned out they didn't have the second couch, they just had the one couch, uh, for my brother. But they knew where there was a party, and I thought, well, that's good enough.

Aristotle photo

„We must act in the same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the primary thing or first principle.“

—  Aristotle, book Nicomachean Ethics

Book I, 1098a-b; §7 as translated by W. D. Ross
Nicomachean Ethics
Context: Let this serve as an outline of the good; for we must presumably first sketch it roughly, and then later fill in the details. But it would seem that any one is capable of carrying on and articulating what has once been well outlined, and that time is a good discoverer or partner in such a work; to which facts the advances of the arts are due; for any one can add what is lacking. And we must also remember what has been said before, and not look for precision in all things alike, but in each class of things such precision as accords with the subject-matter, and so much as is appropriate to the inquiry. For a carpenter and a geometer investigate the right angle in different ways; the former does so in so far as the right angle is useful for his work, while the latter inquires what it is or what sort of thing it is; for he is a spectator of the truth. We must act in the same way, then, in all other matters as well, that our main task may not be subordinated to minor questions. Nor must we demand the cause in all matters alike; it is enough in some cases that the fact be well established, as in the case of the first principles; the fact is the primary thing or first principle. Now of first principles we see some by induction, some by perception, some by a certain habituation, and others too in other ways. But each set of principles we must try to investigate in the natural way, and we must take pains to state them definitely, since they have a great influence on what follows. For the beginning is thought to be more than half of the whole, and many of the questions we ask are cleared up by it.

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„What, eBay isn't good enough for us?“

—  James Patterson American author 1947

Source: The Final Warning

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„A good life is a main argument.“

—  Ben Jonson English writer 1572 - 1637

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„Nature is good enough and grand enough and broad enough to give us the diversity born of liberty.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll Union United States Army officer 1833 - 1899

The trial of Charles B. Reynolds for blasphemy (1887)
Context: I want you to understand what has been done in the world to force men to think alike. It seems to me that if there is some infinite being who wants us to think alike he would have made us alike. Why did he not do so? Why did he make your brain so that you could not by any possibility be a Methodist? Why did he make yours so that you could not be a Catholic? And why did he make the brain of another so that he is an unbeliever — why the brain of another so that he became a Mohammedan — if he wanted us all to believe alike?
After all, maybe Nature is good enough and grand enough and broad enough to give us the diversity born of liberty. Maybe, after all, it would not be best for us all to be just the same. What a stupid world, if everybody said yes to everything that everybody else might say.
The most important thing in this world is liberty. More important than food or clothes — more important than gold or houses or lands — more important than art or science — more important than all religions, is the liberty of man.

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„He is not poor who has enough of things to use. If it is well with your belly, chest and feet, the wealth of kings can give you nothing more.“

—  Horace, book Epistles

Book I, epistle xii, line 4
Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC)
Original: (la) Pauper enim non est, cui rerum suppetit usus.
si ventri bene, si lateri est pedibusque tuis, nil
divitiae poterunt regales addere maius.

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