|Examples of “things”, the principle operation of the nature of each governed by one and the same laws of chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics; things 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, in classification speak, compare outdated Linnaean classification (1735), are types of “animate” things, and thing 3, which is a type of “inanimate” thing (see: rock vs human); among the former variety of which thing 4 is a wind-powered (pressure-sensitive) mechanical thing, thing 5 is a light-powered (light, pressure, smell, and taste sensitive) physicochemical thing (Ѻ), and things 1, 2, and 6 are powered CHNOPS+# things, the "#" indicative of the elemental composition of the thing, e.g. a human, similar, conceptually, to the two fictional Seuss things, is a 21-sense (Ѻ)(Ѻ) powered CHNOPS+20 thing. Things 1, 2, 5, and 6, physicochemically-speaking, are "reactive" things, as compared to things 3 and 4, which are non-reactive or "inert" things, in respect to human-interaction timescales or human chemical reaction energies.|
Dead things | Living things
Among puzzles, biggest confusion to implant into the mind of man, a switch occurring sometime amid the dark ages, is the belief that all "things" in the universe can be divided into two categories: dead things and living things. It would take man some 5,000-years to ferret out this mess.
In the pre-Christian era (1000BC to 100AD), when gods were marginalized and four element or atomic theory and two force like theories predominated, theories of generalized "things" seemed to be the way of the philosophical inquiry.
In 330BC, Aristotle outlined a physics and metaphysics of “things”, the most-prolific theory of everything to date; the following is one example:
“Natural things are exactly those things which do move continuously, in virtue of the principle inherent in themselves, towards a determined goal; and the final development which results from any one such principle is not identical for any two species, nor yet is it any random result, but in each there is always a tendency towards an identical result if nothing interferes.”— Aristotle (322BC), Physics (2:8) 
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
In 60BC, Lucretius published his On the Nature of Things, wherein he outlined a general atomic theory and one force based model of things; the following being some excerpts: 
“All things come to be without the aid of gods.”— Lucretius (c.60BC), On the Nature of Things (§:General Principles)
“All things are put together of everlasting seeds, until some force has met them to batter things asunder with its blow, or to make its way inward through the empty voids and break things up, nature suffers not the destruction of anything to be seen.”— Lucretius (c.60BC), On the Nature of Things (§:A.General Principles)
“I maintain, the truth is this; there are certain bodies, whose meetings, movements, order, position, and shapes make fires, and when their order changes, they change their nature, and they are not made like to fire nor to any other thing either, which is able to send off bodies to our senses and touch by collision our sense of touch. Moreover, to say that fire is all things, and that there is no other real thing in the whole count of things, but only fire, as this same Heraclitus does, seems to be raving frenzy.”— Lucretius (c.60BC), On the Nature of Things (§:C.Refutation of Rival Theories)
The following are the anti-Epicurean thing views of Marcus Aurelius:
“Nature, which governs the whole, will soon change all things which thou seest, and out of their substance will make other things, and again other things from the substance of them, in order that the world may be ever new.”— Marcus Aurelius (c.160), Publication; cited by Edward Clodd (1897) as opening quote in Pioneers of Evolution from Thales to Huxley
Into the dark ages, the following became the dominate thing philosophy:
“God as arranged all things by measure and number and weight.”— Anon (c.100AD), Wisdom of Solomon 11:20 (Ѻ); quote was found proximately above the periodic table of elements, in the chemistry classroom of the University of Leipzig when Hermann Kolbe was professor, but removed per order “that must go” when in 1885 Johannes Wislicenus succeeded Kolbe.
Specifically, in the Christian era (100AD-1500), when god became predominate, and four element or atomic theory and two force like theories became illegal, promulgations of punishable by death (de-existence), theories of generalized "things" became usurped by a deistic-based dualism conceptualized theory of "living things" and "dead things", in short.
In the 1580s, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, building on Aristotle, albeit with Copernican changes (Ѻ), began to outline a semblance of a thing philosophy:
“A spirit exists in all things, and no body is so small but contains a part of the divine substance within itself, by which it is animated.”— Giordano Bruno (c.1590), Publication; cited by Henry Bray (1910) in The Living Universe (pg. 180)
The 1600 infamous burning of Bruno, who would not retract is thing philosophy, marked a turning point out of the dark ages and towards enlightenment.
Spinoza | Hobbes
In 1670, Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (§3), building on Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Maimonides (1135-1204), digressed on what he referred to as the natural right of things, as follows: (Ѻ)
“By the right and order of nature, I merely mean the rules determining the nature of each individual thing by which we conceive it is determined naturally to exist and to behave in a certain way. For example fish are determined by nature to swim and big fish to eat little ones, and therefore it is by sovereign natural right that fish have possession of the water and that big fish eat small fish. For it is certain that nature, considered wholly in itself, has a sovereign right to do everything that it can do, i.e., the right of nature extends as far as its power extends … since the universal power of the whole of nature is nothing but the power of all individual things together, it follows that each individual thing has the sovereign right to do everything that it can do, or the right of each thing extends so far as its determined power extends.”
Another noted quote is:
“All things happen according to the laws of nature.”— Benedict Spinoza (c.1625), Treatise on Theological Politics (§3) (Ѻ)
|The 2015 sic-volume Stoic: The Epicureans showing (Ѻ) Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things; the subject of "things" being the first main book of six, in comparing and contrasting stoicism with Epicureanism, as found in Epicurus and Cicero.|
In 1925, Gilbert Lewis, in his The Anatomy of Science, amid the defunct theory of life transition point period (1880s-1940s), was vacillating on the terms “animate things” and “living things” which he used interchangeably.
The following are other neo-modern related thing quotes:
“The only thing which can be directly perceived by the senses is force, to which may be reduced light, heat, electricity, sound and all the other things which can be perceived by the senses.”— James Maxwell (1847), age 16
“After death the force, or power, we call ‘will’ undoubtedly endures; but it endures in this world, not in the next. And so with the thing we call life, or the soul—mere speculative terms for a material thing which, under given conditions, drives this way or that. It too endures in this world, not the other.”— Thomas Edison (1910), interview with NY Times journalist Edward Marshall 
“More than this can be said. There is no thing endowed with life—from man, who is enslaving the elements, to the humblest creature—in all this world that does not sway it in turn. Whenever action is born from force, though it be infinitesimal, the cosmic balance is upset and universal motion result.”— Nikola Tesla (1915), “How Cosmic Forces Shape Our Destines” 
“Such a principle [relativity] resulted from a paradox upon which I had already hit at the age of sixteen: If I pursue a beam of light with a velocity c (velocity of light in a vacuum), I should observe such a beam of light … at rest. However, there seems to be no such thing, whether on the basis of experience or according to Maxwell’s equations.”— Albert Einstein (c.1930), retrospect reflection on relativity theory 
“I propose the following definition, which is applied to everything, including minerals: ‘life is the faculty of reaction.’ Everything in the universe tends toward inertia, or absence of reaction. The proof of this inertia, which thermodynamics seeks in ‘absolute zero,’ has never been given, nor will it ever be, because absolute inertia can only be attained through the cessation of the formed matter or ‘thing’. This would be the moment the thing ceased to exist. Everything ‘existing’ is capable of reaction, insofar as it has ‘weight’, that is, fixed or specific energy. The vital phenomenon is the faculty of reacting, and to manifest itself this reaction requires a resistance of the same nature as the action.”— Rene Lubicz (1949), The Temple of Man
“To a materialist no thing is real but atoms in a void and we are but molecular people controlled by the actions of natural physicochemical law.”— George Scott (1985), “Molecular People” dedicated to Lucretius
“The world appears to be governed by empirically discoverable, natural, and unalterable laws, and individuals apprehend their own activities in terms of quantifiable laws. The thingification of people (reification) presents itself in philosophy as crude materialism, and the personification of things (fetishism) presents itself as crude idealism. Crude materialists tend to regard social relations of production as though they are natural properties inherent in things.”— Gillian Howie (2010), Between Feminism and Materialism 
“It helps us to understand the nature of things.”— Bruno (2010), dialogue with Magda (wife) on quarks and binding energy in respect to their marriage; in film Afinidades
1. Lucretius. (c.60BC). On the Nature of Things (translator: Cyril Bailey) (txt). Oxford, 1910.
2. Marshall, Edward. (1910). “No Immortality of the Soul Says Thomas A. Edison” (Ѻ) (pdf), The New York Times, Oct 2.
3. (a) Tesla, Nikola. (1915). “How Cosmic Forces Shape Our Destinies (‘Did the War Cause the Italian Earthquake’), New York American, Feb 7.
(b) Tesla, Nikola. (2007). The Nikola Tesla Treasury (pg. 504-13). Wilder Publications.
4. Kaku, Michio. (2005). Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (pg. 44). W.W. Norton & Co.
5. Howie, Gillian. (2010). Between Feminism and Materialism: a Question of Method (pgs. 46-47). Palgrave Macmillan.
6. Brown, Richard H. (1977). A Poetic for Sociology: Toward a Logic of Discovery for the Human Sciences (pg. 130). University of Chicago Press, 1989.
● Thing – Wikipedia.