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Food for thought.

"Wake Up! "You have slept for millions and millions of years.

"Why not wake up this morning?" - Kabir

There's nothing quite like the use of metaphors in English to confuse, awaken and stimulate thought.

Take the title of this article for instance. Is it about food, or about thought?

For those adventurous enough to type "food for thought" into the Google search engine, you'll find it's used for both - and more.

One food-for-thought website provides a home for one-act plays.

Another is a website that offers articles and a newsletter about Islam.

To top off the diversity of uses for the expression, one website features a book on "the Buddhist practice of training the heart".

The majority of sites listing the topic, however, deal either with edible food or ideas worth thinking about.

What got me started on this? Mailings nearly every other day from a friend who seems to search for news items or quotations that make people think.

Numerous other sources of famous and lesser-known quotations can be found on the Internet.

Browsing through them on occasion can be both fun and thought provoking.

The "fun" types of quotes come from wits like Oscar Wilde and comedians like Groucho Marx.

For interesting and well-organised quotation sites, visit Quoteland and Brainy Quote. You can find quotations by topic or author.

The Quotations Page, the oldest quotation site on the web, has a database of more than 15,000 quotes - with Quotes of the Day and Motivational Quotes, as well as collections of quotes by author and subject.

While quotations might hold sway as "quick brain food", the Internet offers other kinds of thought provoking material including fables, the stories of great men and women and the great books.

Fables and fairy tales provide the source of amusement and horror from which children learn and adults use to teach and sometimes frighten their offspring.

Stories like Aesop's fable about the boy who cried wolf have been used to teach children for centuries.

Aesop's many fables have been around since 650BC and are available on the web.

Perhaps the most fascinating approach can be seen in those illustrated and retold in both traditional and modern versions by students at the University of Massachusetts.

All of those thought-provoking tales of good and evil, right and wrong, told with such mastery can be found on the Internet: the fairy tales and stories of Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm brothers, along with the Tales of the Arabian Nights.

One path to useful brain food involves digging into the great books of all times.

With plenty of information about men and women who have accomplished anything of significance, the web has made this kind of probe easy.

Simply type their names into Google to discover the many links to great thinkers and leaders.

A number of online publications list people they believe have made great accomplishments.

Some of these choose people who have achieved much in a particular field, like Fortune's outstanding business leaders.

Forbes magazine publishes a number of lists like "The World's Billionaires", "100 Top Celebrities", "The Forbes 400" and more.

Always a good source of thought-provoking work, lives or ideas, the great books have enough food for thought in them to provide a university education.

A favourite great books list, chosen by the Committee of College Reading and included in Good Reading, offers an outstanding education in the classic thinkers from ancient to modern times.

Both recipes for edible food and ideas that stimulate thought are abundantly available on the Internet.

Enjoy using them.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Dec 28, 2013
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