“He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors.” – Martin Heidegger Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher, is known for his complex and often dense philosophical texts. The quote, “He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors,” suggests that those who are bold enough to think in original, ambitious, or unconventional ways will also, inevitably, sometimes get things wrong.
This quote can be interpreted on multiple levels. First, at a basic level, it means that big thinking and innovative ideas carry a risk of making big mistakes, which is a part of the process of learning, growing, and evolving. No one who pushes boundaries and explores new thoughts or concepts does so flawlessly. Second, on a deeper, philosophical level, Heidegger might be referring to the nature of philosophy itself. Philosophy seeks to answer life’s biggest questions, but these are not always answerable or straightforward.
Therefore, in striving to grasp the profound truths of existence, it’s inevitable that a philosopher will make errors or missteps along the way. This is part of the human condition: our understanding is always evolving, always in flux, and often marked by mistakes that lead to greater insights. The quote could be seen as a reminder that great intellectual endeavours are fraught with the risk of error, but these errors should not deter the pursuit of knowledge or the endeavour to think grand thoughts. Instead, errors are an integral part of the journey towards understanding and should be embraced as such.