"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual
human is the most valuable thing in all 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 idea, religion, or
government which limits or destroys the individual."
by:
John Steinbeck
(1902-1968) Author, Nobel laureate
Source:
East of Eden, 1952
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Reader comments about this quote:
I give this quote a 5, however I do not think that it is inherently anti-religion. Just anti-religion that limits the individual. Communism turned out to be anti-individual, and religion is the one thing that beat it in eastern Europe.
 -- Mike Laub , Bolingbrook, Il     
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     -- Peter      
    America take heed, the valuable thing that is so immportant to the free, exploring mind of the individual is freedom of choice. To control the manifestation of the thought the choice of where that thought might lead the individual is the very first act upon a thought, thus the thinkers choice. Without this free choice, man is not free.
     -- Anon     
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    I gave it 4 stars because of the undetermined use of an undirected mind. Can an education, or at least, information sought by a mature mind be without direction? Instruction should not be limited so that one ideology prevails; by way of example: a godless socialism or; a god induced society of violence, or; a government that would make such destructive beliefs as compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, theft and control by funny money a norm for existence.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike Laub, communism defeated itself. It simply is not a sustainable doctrine. As Thatcher said, what do you do when you run out of everyone else's money? I like Steinbeck's determination to fight any philosophy or politic that limits or controls.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    10 stars
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Kudos to J Carlton.He summed up the fall of Communism perfectly and Socialism is simply Communism in a slightly nicer package.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Great quote but what are we to do with the statements that follow that totally bashes the thought of a single mind and a man like Karl Marx. Are not the folk above doing exactly what Steinbeck's character in his novel said that government, church or any idea should not do. Mike and some others for example are for home schooling is not that an effort at mind control of the little ones.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Free thought, yes, compulsion to accept, no. Same goes for imagining a perfect world -- just don't force it on me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do good, only with tryinng to force one's ideas of good upon another by intimidation or force (like mandatory government health care).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Waffler, home schooling is to avoid mind control, and antisocial behavior. Home schooling is to help teach young minds to think for themselves with more than just godless socialism, or godless fascism as the options of choice. Home schooling offers an option of personal responsibility where the collectivist government schools do not offer such. Home schooling allows for not only teaching what Marx wrote, but the whole picture with examples of Marxist doctrine implementation(s) also - government schools impart the first half only. Etc. Etc. Etc.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Waffler, if indoctrination to life and the role that a child must play can be demanded by an elite few who control educational policy, then why can't parents have the right to do the same and for that matter have the first choice on how to teach them up in respect of the rights of everyone else.where choice is their perogative and not the perogative of government to teach them what choices are allowed and what ones are not. They are the parent's children, not the governments.It's sad to see with the perpetual debt of fiat money running our country now, in a sense, Americans have sold their childrens future thus their lives over to those who would ensure living off the labor of the future to continue paying them homage,..I mean interest or the endless debt to society and its banks that can never be paid off under this debt system.
     -- Anon     
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    Anon as long as all educators including the parents see the student children as children of God and not there own to shape to shape and control to their own image or ignorance and that they are not educating the child as a glory to themeselves but truly for the sake of the child alls okay and freedom is saved and enhanced.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Home schooling is OK if there parents are secular and Liberal progressives they understand not to teach their opinions and beliefs.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, I can't quit laughing, more than just out loud. By your very definition, you pronounce the most limiting of all scenarios on the child and make a lie out of your entire statement (really funny, but a lie non-the-less)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, I'm sorry you don't understand. I never laugh at a persons serious comment, it is rude. But, I suppose that's your way.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    P'.s. Mike you must understand the difference between opinion and education - I can educate those wishing to be educated but never those who wish not to be educated. Education is all about understanding the student without opinion or religious beliefs - God does not make the Law either through nature or through the Bible - the law of nature is the law of nature and God has nothing to do with it. How dare you presume your child is also religious without first the exploration of ideas and philosophies.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, I understand the difference between opinion and education. I also understand that atheism, along with all other philosophies that exempt the study of god based philosophies, ideas, and societies are empty, unprovable opinions and equates to an incomplete education. Your religiously induced atheism promotes ignorance and prejudice. As to the law of nature, you are correct, it can be taught without a source, it just exists. Actions have reactions, causes have effects, gravity - fiscal realities, etc. all exist without advocating a source thereof. I remember in a college class a student ask why does matter always act in the same way or even cling one to another? Or, in other words, why the law? Without bringing a god into to it, the answer is, we don't know, it just does or it just is. Man, by his nature is a religious creature - one of the things that separates man from the the other animals. To be non-religious is a learned trait leaving the student uncaring, ignorant, and diluted. On the other hand, all religious endeavors can, by no stretch of the imagination, be called good. Many are evil. Without being educated in what religion 'is' and what the various religions believe, most history will not make any sense and current world events can not be given any depth of understanding or why things happen as they do. The current unconstitutional statist theocracy that now infests this land can not be recognized for what it is without understanding what religion is, does, or the how and why of it.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike Laub, Communism is a religion. If you accept that you will begin to understand the left much better. It can not be discredited no matter how much evidence piles up against it. No matter how much socialism/liberalism/progressivism fails it can not be wrong. The reason communism failed is because it is a false religion. Liberals always fail to achieve any of the utopian dreams they have while typically making the situation worse. They can not stop doing what they do because it is their religion they would be abandoning.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Mike, O Mike, you still don't get it! the one thing that Atheists and what you call other philosophies study religion more than those who are religious and there is good reason for this. The one thing that all educationalists would agree on and that is religion inhibits growth of the mind. Another mistake you make is that man is by his nature religious - I'm afraid its the opposite. To be religious is a learned trait - - please don't you see that... You are most naive to think that only religious people are caring most Atheists I know do ten times more good for society than most others. Mike, I agree that there are evils in in forms of society both religious and non-religious.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I think you are generalizing religion of all forms into some misguided recent image of conformity. Belief in God is not an abdication of belief in science, society or other valuable inteligence. But just because we humans have come to a greater understanding of physical history, science, culture and a variety of religious beliefs doesn't negate the desire of Man to have faith in a higher being. Or that that higher being has a place in this world and a place in the conciousness of this world. Shame on you for disparinging the faith of countless centuries of Men and Women of all faiths and of all times past and present! It is up to the individual to decide their own faith. Talk to me again when you have your "moment of Glory". You may learn something someday. Until that time. Don't hate faith. It isn't yours to take or give. So what if you don't believe in God. So what if you do. It is your choice alone. Let everyman have personal choice. Nobody can make another person believe in their heart of hearts what they don't want to believe. Your judgement is excactly what this quote speaks against! Read it again and again. Individual choice. Freedom. Individual thought. Freedom.
     -- Susan, E. Moriches, NY     
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    Threskeia religion,officious parade practiced among church and state. Threskos religion, the contrast is set forth between that which is unreal and deceptive and the pure religion which consist in visiting the fatherless widows in their afflictions and in keeping oneself unspotted from the world. Careful of the externals of divine service. Therefore one who cares for their neighbor through acting in conjunction with action of that care, practices Threskos religion. "Defining times demand defining words well." Approaching the throne of grace by Threskos is by fare better than a vain display of no worth. 
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
     
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