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Date: 1641

"But I see what it is: my mind enjoys wandering off and will not yet submit to being restrained within the bounds of truth. Very well then; just this once let us give it a completely free rein, so that after a while, when it is time to tighten the reins, it may more readily submit to being curbed."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1657

The fancy is a "Boundlesse, restlesse faculty, free from all engagements, diggs without spade, sails without Ships, Flies without wings, builds without charges, fights without bloodshed, in a moment striding from the Center to the circumference of the world, by a kind of omnipotency creating and ...

— Poole, Joshua (c.1615–c.1656)

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Date: 1665

"Which last Expression suits very well with the present case, since, when a pious Soul is once got upon the wing of Contemplation, she must descend and stoop to exchange her converse with Heavenly objects, for one with Earthly vanities, and much more must she debase and degrade her self, if the t...

— Boyle, Robert (1627-1691)

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Date: 1732

"But the free-thinker, with a vigorous flight of thought, breaks through those airy springes, and asserts his original independency."

— Berkeley, George (1685-1753)

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Date: 1748, 1749

"Like that bird on yonder spray, the imagination seems to be perpetually ready to take wing."

— Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

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Date: 1759

"His mighty mind travelled round the intellectual world; and, with a more than eagle's eye, saw, and has pointed out blank spaces, or dark spots in it, on which the human mind never shone."

— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)

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Date: 1762

"Du reste, renversant, détruisant, foulant aux pieds tout ce que les hommes respectent, ils ôtent aux affligés la dernière consolation de leur misère, aux puissants & aux riches le seul frein de leurs passions; ils arrachent du fond des coeurs le remords du crime, l’espoir de la vertu, & se vante...

— Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

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Date: 1774

"As acuteness of smell carries a dog along the path of the game for which he searches, and secures him against the danger of quitting it, upon another scent: so this happy structure of imagination leads the man of genius into those tracks where the proper ideas lurk, and not only enables him to d...

— Gerard, Alexander (1728-1795)

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Date: 1774

"As a sprightly courser continually mends his pace, so genius, in proportion as it proceeds in its subject, acquires new force and spirit, which urges it on so vehemently, that it cannot be restrained from prosecuting it."

— Gerard, Alexander (1728-1795)

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Date: 1774

"The vigour of imagination carries it forward to invention; but understanding must always conduct it and regulate its motions. A horse of high mettle ranging at liberty, will run with great swiftness and spirit, but in an irregular track and without any fixt direction: a skilful rider makes him m...

— Gerard, Alexander (1728-1795)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.