Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. what a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“There is no remedy for love, but to love more.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” (Henry David Thoreau)

I copied and pasted from the link below.

We are all one spark, eyes full of wonder

“Take the lowest place, and you shall reach the highest.” 

“In the monastery of your heart, you have a temple where all Buddhas unite.” - Milarepa 

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Fairly sure pragmatism is Evil, or at least undesirable. Although seductive.

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” (Henry David Thoreau) Sounds, like Keith Ledger's Joker, from "The Dark Knight". Although do not drink poison, and then drinking alcohol, or Arsenic maybe a good rule. 

Listened to "Walden" a while a go, I think Thoreau makes a few good points. The demand side of the goods produced by slavery I think is under addressed.

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Ugh! Beautiful thread.
I'll add some of my favorites that aren't mentioned yet. All from Walden:

"Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in.
I drink at it; but while i drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.
Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains."

"In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness."

"Thaw with his gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer.
The one melts, the other but breaks in pieces."

"Though the youth at last grows indifferent,
the laws of the universe are not indifferent,
but are for ever on the side of the most sensitive."

"Not till we are lost - in other words, not till we have lost the world - do we begin to find ourselves, and realise where we are, and the infinite extent of our relations."

"To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts,
nor even to found a school,
but so to love wisdom as to live according to it's dictates,
a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust."

"Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour."

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."

"It is life near the bone where it is sweetest."

"The morning wind forever blows,
the poem of creation is uninterrupted;
but few are the ears that hear it."

"The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
There is more day to dawn.
The sun is but a morning star."

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Time for an update :-) All from "Walking"

“I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least - and it is commonly more than that- sauntering through the woods and over the hills, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”

“When a traveller asked Wordsworth’s servant to show him her master’s study, she answered, ‘Here is his library, but his study is out of doors’.”

“An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon.”

“Man and his affairs, church and state and school, trade and commerce, and manufactures and agriculture, even politics, the most alarming of them all, - I am pleased to see how little space they occupy in the landscape.”

“To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.”

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

“The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search of the Wild. (…) From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind.”

“Give me a wildness whose glance no civilisation can endure.”

“In Literature it is only the Wild that attracts us. Dulness is but another name for tameness.”

“Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man, - a sort of breeding in and in, which produces at most a merely English nobility, a civilisation destined to have a speedy limit.”

“Not even does the moon shine every night, but gives place to darkness.”

“We may study the laws of matter at and for our convenience, but a successful life knows no law.”

“Nature is a personality so vast and universal that we have never seen one of her features.”

“Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past. Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barn-yard within our horizon, it is belated.”

“So we shall walk toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn.”

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Love all these quotes. Good thread. Especially the original post.

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