Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher from Concord, Massachusetts. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy.
Quotes by Henry David Thoreau…
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.
It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support.
The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
If I were to discover that a certain kind of stone by the pond-shore was affected, say partially disintegrated, buy a particular natural sound, as of a bird or insect, I see that one could not be completely described without describing other. I am that rock by the pond side.
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a 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 art.
I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.
With thinking we may be beside ourselves in a sane sense. By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences, and all things, good and bad, go by us like a torrent.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.