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Date: 360-355 B.C.

While having knowledge may be analogous to a man who "has" birds in an aviary, "in another sense he 'has' none of them, though he has got control of them, now that he has made them captive in an enclosure of his own; he can take and have hold of them whenever he likes by catching any bird he choo...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Once more then, just as a while ago we imagined a sort of waxen block in our minds, so now let us suppose that every mind contains a kind of aviary stocked with birds of every sort, some in flocks apart from the rest, some in small groups, and some solitary, flying in any direction among them all."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"When we are babies we must suppose this receptacle empty, and take the birds to stand for pieces of knowledge."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Perhaps, Socrates, we were wrong in making the birds stand for pieces of knowledge only, and we ought to have imagined pieces of ignorance flying about with them in the mind."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: c. 43 AD

"Meanwhile, hampered by mortal limbs and encompassed by the heavy burden of the flesh, it surveys, as best it can, the things of heaven in swift and winged thought."

— Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (c. 4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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Date: 58

"As we hunt wild beasts with toil and peril, and even when they are caught find them an anxious possession, for they often tear their keepers to pieces, even so are great pleasures: they turn out to be great evils and take their owners prisoner."

— Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (c. 4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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Date: 388

"Is the soul and body together, as a pair of horses or a composite beast like a centaur is one thing?"

— St. Augustine (354-430)

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Date: Written not before 512

"So I continued to ponder all the questions in my mind, not swallowing what I had heard, but rather chewing the cud of constant meditation."

— Boethius (480-524/5)

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Date: 731

"Ond he eal þa he in gehærnesse geleornian meahte mid hine gemyndgade, ond swa swa clæne neten eodorcende in þæt sweteste leoð gehwerfde." And he was able to learn all that he heard; and remembering within him, just as a clean animal chewing cud [ruminating], he turned it into the swe...

— Bede (672/3 - 735)

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Date: 1257

"Of such successive steps is Jacob's Ladder made, with its top reaching to heaven; and the throne of Solomon upon which is seated the King most wise, truly peaceful and full of love, the Bridegroom most fair, who is all delight, upon whom angels desire to look, toward whom holy souls aspire as th...

— St. Bonaventure [born Giovanni di Fidanza] (1217-1274)

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