Anthony Ashley Cooper
Third Earl of Shaftesbury
From CHARACTERISTICS OF MEN, MANNERS, OPINIONS, TIMES, 1711 by Shaftesbury
There is good reason to suppose that, however, equably framed or near alike the race of mankind may appear in other respects, they are not always equal thinkers, or of a like ability in the management of this natural talent which we call thought. The race, on this account, may therefore justly be distinguished, as they often are, by the appellation of the thinking and the unthinking sort. The mere unthinking are such as have not yet arrived to that happy thought by which they should observe " how necessary thinking is, and how fatal the want of it must prove to them." The thinking part of mankind, on the other side, having discovered the assiduity and industry requisite to right thinking, and being already commenced thinkers upon this foundation, are in the progress of the affair convinced of the necessity of thinking to good purpose and carrying the work to a through issue. They know that if they refrain or stop once upon this road, they had done as well never to have to have set out. They are not so supine as to be withheld by mere laziness, when nothing lies in the way to interrupt the free course and progress of their thought.
Page created 23 October 2003
W. Paul Tabaka