Jean Pastor


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
The purpose of this paper is to analyze and evaluate the above statement, but before proceeding with the analysis, a backward glance at its history will prove interesting.
Although popular opinion generally attributes the origin of "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" to William Shakespeare, this idea must come under the heading of a "popular fallacy." In this instance, as in numerous others, Shakespeare has merely articulated one of the commonplaces of the time. In other words, the Elizabethans might have been found using the phrase as we of the present day might use "A stitch in time, saves nine." As far as I could discover, the first written statement employing this idea was in a work by Euphues:
It is ye disposition of the thought yt altereth ye nature of ye thing. The sun shineth upon the dungehill and is not corrupted. (Bond, i. 193)
Later, but still before Shakespeare, Spencer incorporated it in his Faerie Queene: It is the mind that maketh good or ill. (VI. LX. 30)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.