Walden Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Walden. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
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Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
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Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Things do not change; we change.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
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The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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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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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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...for my greatest skill has been to want but little.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or Life in the Woods)
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I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The universe is wider than our views of it.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
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We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. 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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town... he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
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I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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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. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple-tree or an oak. Shall he turn his spring into summer?
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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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. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Fuck the world. Do what you feel is right, and you have every right to love whomever you want.
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S. Walden (Going Under)
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Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Time is but the 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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or Life in the Woods)
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Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
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Henry David Thoreau
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If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Confucius said, "To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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All change is a miracle to contemplate, but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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However mean your life is, meet and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its doors as early in the spring. Cultivate property like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts… Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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We have nothing to fear but fear itself," Otto replied. "Oh, and a megalomaniacal headmaster, the world's deadliets assassin, giant mutated plant monsters, an international cartel of supervillains, and the security forces of every country on earth, but other than that...just fear.
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Mark Walden (The Overlord Protocol (H.I.V.E., #2))
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In the long run, we only hit what we aim at.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Life at H.I.V.E. may have its attractions after all, Otto thought. Friends, as they say, may come and go, but high-powered laser weapons are forever.
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Mark Walden (H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1))
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The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
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No one asks how to motivate a baby. A baby naturally explores everything it can get at, unless restraining forces have already been at work. And this tendency doesn't die out, it's wiped out.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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We are only just beginning to understand the power of love because we are just beginning to understand the weakness of force and aggression.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
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In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Some of us learn control, more or less by accident. The rest of us go all our lives not even understanding how it is possible, and blaming our failure on being born the wrong way.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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I’m talking about the kind of indignity that changes you as a person, makes you withdraw, hide from the world because suddenly it’s turned into something frighteningβ€”full of dark corners and monsters.
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S. Walden (Going Under)
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I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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What is love except another name for the use of positive reinforcement? Or vice versa.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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As long as possible live free and uncommitted. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or Life in the Woods)
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Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? 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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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A fourth-grade reader may be a sixth-grade mathematician. The grade is an administrative device which does violence to the nature of the developmental process.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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No man ever followed his genius til it misled him.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
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Henry David Thoreau
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Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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It was decided. I was going to let Ryan Foster do me. I had no idea when it would happen, but it was inevitable. If he kept being this cute, it was inevitable.
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S. Walden (Going Under)
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Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I found in myself, and still find, an instinct toward a higher, or, as it is named, spiritual life, as do most men, and another toward a primitive rank and savage one, and I reverence them both. I love the wild not less than the good.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
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The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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GOING TO WALDEN It isn't very far as highways lie. I might be back by nightfall, having seen The rough pines, and the stones, and the clear water. Friends argue that I might be wiser for it. They do not hear that far-off Yankee whisper: How dull we grow from hurrying here and there! Many have gone, and think me half a fool To miss a day away in the cool country. Maybe. But in a book I read and cherish, Going to Walden is not so easy a thing As a green visit. It is the slow and difficult Trick of living, and finding it where you are.
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Mary Oliver
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Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.
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Henry David Thoreau
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Begin where you are and such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindness aforethought, go about doing good.
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Henry David Thoreau
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I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, - we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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At this very moment enormous numbers of intelligent men and women of goodwill are trying to build a better world. But problems are born faster than they can be solved.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will tax the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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It is remarkable how long men will believe in the bottomlessness of a pond without taking the trouble to sound it.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Resistance to Civil Government (Critical Edition))
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The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it, reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics))
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See how he cowers and sneaks, how vaguely all the day he fears, not being immortal nor divine, but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. 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.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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A scientist may not be sure of the answer, but he's often sure he can find one. And that's a condition which is clearly not enjoyed by philosophy.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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The mob rushes in where individuals fear to tread.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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Keep an eye on that boy... he has potential
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Mark Walden (H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1))
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Democracy is the spawn of despotism. And like father, like son. Democracy is power and rule. It's not the will of the people, remember; it's the will of the majority.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
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If a man is alive, there is always danger that he may die, though the danger must be allowed to be less in proportion as he is dead-and-alive to begin with. A man sits as many risks as he runs.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and robbery would be unknown. These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night... All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, β€œAll intelligences awake with the morning.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The church is a sort of hospital for men's souls and as full of quackery as the hospital for their bodies.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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Love comes in all kinds of packages. Some are neatly tied up, and some are messy. It doesn't mean that the messy ones aren't every bit as good.
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S. Walden (Good (Too Good, #1))
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[He] was always here to offer cups of good clear Walden Pond, or shout down the deep well of Shakespeare and listen, with satisfaction, for echoes. Here the lion and the hartebeest lay together, here the jackass became a unicorn.
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Ray Bradbury (Farewell Summer (Green Town, #3))
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Ryan chuckled. β€œYou’re going to be my trouble this year, aren't you?” he asked softly. Hell yeah I was.
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S. Walden (Going Under)
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But lo! men have become the tools of their tools.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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We should come home from far, from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day, with new experience and character.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
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Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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The outside is the only place we can truly be inside the world.
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Daniel J. Rice (THIS SIDE OF A WILDERNESS: A Novel)
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You don't get to decide what's important for us. You can choose for yourself, but no one else.
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Tillie Walden (On a Sunbeam)
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It is not a question of starting. The start has been made. It's a question of what's to be done from now on.
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B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Going out of style isn't a natural process, but a manipulated change which destroys the beauty of last year's dress in order to make it worthless.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
A piece of music is an experience to be taken by itself.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. We loiter in winter while it is already spring.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
It’s always described as melting, and I finally understood why. I thought my body was turning to liquid. I could feel my bones giving way, threatening to dissolve and leave me one big puddle of goo.
”
”
S. Walden (Going Under)
β€œ
But man's capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little have been tried.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
As long as possible live free and uncommitted.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!
”
”
Henry David Thoreau
β€œ
If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Love is when you're with someone and you never check the time because for you, time doesn't exist.
”
”
S. Walden (Honeysuckle Love)
β€œ
Morning brings back the heroic ages. There was something cosmical about it; a standing advertisement, till forbidden, of the everlasting vigor and fertility of the world. The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes: yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it...At last we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
You boast of spending a tenth part of your income in charity; may be you should spend the nine tenths so, and done with it.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or Life in the Woods; On the Duty of Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
So long as a man is faithful to himself, everything is in his favor, government, society, the very sun, moon, and stars.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden, or Life in the Woods, and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
It's not conditional. I don't love you because you love me. I love you because I love you.
”
”
S. Walden (Good (Too Good, #1))
β€œ
Men build society and society builds men.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
ONLY THE DAY DAWNS TO WHICH WE ARE AWAKE,IF WE ARE TO GRASP THE REALITY OF OUR LIFE WHILE WE HAVE IT,WE WILL NEED TO WAKE UP TO OUR MOMENTS,OTHERWISE,WHOLE DAYS,EVEN A WHOLE LIFE COULD SLIP BY UNNOTICED..
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
β€œ
I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Our life is frittered away by detail...Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let our affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand...Simplify, simplify!
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
People grow and change. You have to choose to grow and change together. It doesn't mean the feeling isn't still there. You just have to work at it a little harder.
”
”
S. Walden (Good (Too Good, #1))
β€œ
Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
But restraint is the only one sort of control, and absence of restraint isn't freedom. It's not control that's lacking when one feels 'free', but the objectionable control of force.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other.We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that musty old cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post office, and at the sociable, and at the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
I turned my face more exclusively than ever to the woods, where I was better known.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
I love a broad margin to my life.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Darkdoom? Darkdoom did this?" Nero was visibly surprised. He placed a hand on his forehead, rubbing his temples. "Oh, why is it always the bald ones?
”
”
Mark Walden (H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1))
β€œ
I realized I needed to look at evil in an entirely new light. Most bad guys weren’t running around with eyes bugged out. Most bad guys didn’t come across freaky and frightening…Most bad guys were normal, everyday guys moving through life like anyone else… They were hard to spot and that’s what made them so good at being bad… They could get away with it, and they knew it.
”
”
S. Walden (Going Under)
β€œ
Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
β€œ
I hope you don't snore," Otto said, laughing. "Like a chainsaw, my friend, like a chainsaw," Wing replied, grinning.
”
”
Mark Walden (H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1))
β€œ
To be awake is to be alive.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau
β€œ
Men say they know many things; But lo! they have taken wings, β€” The arts and sciences, And a thousand appliances; The wind that blows Is all that any body knows
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
We need so little to be happy. Happiness does not come from things. Happiness comes from living a full and exciting life.
”
”
Ken Ilgunas (Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom)
β€œ
Do we get a bedtime story?" Otto asked cheekily. "Oh yes, of course. I think we'll have one of my favorites; it's called 'The Little Boy and the Tranquilizer Gun." Raven smiled in a rather unsettling way.
”
”
Mark Walden (The Overlord Protocol (H.I.V.E., #2))
β€œ
I mean that they (students) should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate... We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
This guy had balls. Well, I mean, obviously he had balls. I hope he had balls. Bailey, stop thinking about his balls.
”
”
S. Walden (LoveLines (The Wilmington Saga, #1))
β€œ
How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. The book exists for us perchance which will explain our miracles and reveal new ones. The at present unutterable things we may find somewhere uttered.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
The majority of people don't want to plan. They want to be free of the responsibility of planning. What they ask for is merely some assurance that they will be decently provided for. The rest is a day-to-day enjoyment of life. That's the explanation for your Father Divines; people naturally flock to anyone they can trust for the necessities of life... They are the backbone of a community--solid, trust-worthy, essential.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The 'ologies' will tell you how its done Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selflessness. Psychology calls it the growth of the superego. Considering how long society has been at it, you'd expect a better job. But the campaigns have been badly planned and the victory has never been secured.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can old man, β€” you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind,– I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
In the world at large we seldom vote for a principle or a given state of affairs. We vote for a man who pretends to believe in that principle or promises to achieve that state. We don't want a man, we want a condition of peace and plenty-- or, it may be, war and want-- but we must vote for a man.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
They say you can't stop time, that it is a constant and waits for no one. The're wrong. Time slows when you want it to speed up. It goes too Fast when you're having fun. And it stops. It stops dead in its tracks, when the unthinkable occurs. Time is not neutral, it makes no sence, and it bears no logic. It has nothing to do with nature or fairness or physics. Time is cruel. And its as simple as that.
”
”
Heather Killough-Walden
β€œ
76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract 78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy 79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations 80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace 81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography 82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D. 83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – TraitΓ© Γ‰lΓ©mentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry) 84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers 85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions 86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth 87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat 88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History 89. William Wordsworth – Poems 90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria 91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma 92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War 93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love 94. Lord Byron – Don Juan 95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism 96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity 97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology 98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy 99. HonorΓ© de Balzac – PΓ¨re Goriot; Eugenie Grandet 100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal 101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter 102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America 103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography 104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography 105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times 106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine 107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden 108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto 109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch 110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd 111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov 112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories 113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays 114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales 115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger 116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism 117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors 118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power 119. Jules Henri PoincarΓ© – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method 120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
”
”
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
β€œ
Promising paradise or threatening hell-fire is, we assumed, generally admitted to be unproductive. It is based upon a fundamental fraud which, when discovered, turns the individual against society and nourishes the very thing it tries to stamp out. What Jesus offered in return of loving one's enemies was heaven on earth, better known as peace of mind.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
There are some who complain most energetically and inconsolably of any, because they are, as they say, doing their duty. I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Society already possesses the psychological techniques needed to obtain universal observance of a code -- a code which would guarantee the success of a community or state. The difficulty is that these techniques are in the hands of the wrong people--or, rather, there aren't any right people.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
Perhaps there’s no better act of simplification than climbing a mountain. For an afternoon, a day, or a week, it’s a way of reducing a complicated life into a simple goal. All you have to do is take one step at a time, place one foot in front of the other, and refuse to turn back until you’ve given everything you have.
”
”
Ken Ilgunas (Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom)
β€œ
The true and not despairing Friend will address his Friend in some such terms as these. "I never asked thy leave to let me love thee,--I have a right. I love thee not as something private and personal, which is your own, but as something universal and worthy of love, which I have found. O, how I think of you! You are purely good, --you are infinitely good. I can trust you forever. I did not think that humanity was so rich. Give me an opportunity to live.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod)
β€œ
As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Each of us has interests which conflict the interests of everybody else... 'everybody else' we call 'society'. It's a powerful opponent and it always wins. Oh, here and there an individual prevails for a while and gets what he wants. Sometimes he storms the culture of a society and changes it to his own advantage. But society wins in the long run, for it has the advantage of numbers and of age.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Any single historical event is too complex to be adequately known by anyone. It transcends all the intellectual capacities of men. Our practice is to wait until a sufficient number of details have been forgotten. Of course things seem simpler then! Our memories work that way; we retain the facts which are easiest to think about.
”
”
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
β€œ
I'm sure that there must have been times when you have read books or watched films and found yourself secretly wishing for the villain to win. Why? Isn't that against the rules by which our society lives? Why should you feel this way? It's simple, really; the villain is the true hero of these tales, not the well-intentioned moron who somehow foils their diabolical scheme. The villain get's all the best lines, has the best costumes, has unlimited power and wealth- why on earth would anyone not want to be the villain?
”
”
Mark Walden (H.I.V.E. Higher Institute of Villainous Education (H.I.V.E., #1))
β€œ
My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians, of whom it is said that "for yesterday, today, and tomorrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday forward for tomorrow, and overhead for the passing day." This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Jennings saw this and held the gun up with his fingers splayed placatingly as if to show her that he wasn’t planning on using it. Not yet, anyway. β€œI don’t want to hurt you again, Lily,” he told her. β€œSo just make sure you don’t do anything stupid, and I won’t.” At that moment, he reminded her of John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank. He acted like he was making a reasonable request. As if there was justification for shooting someone thirty times.
”
”
Heather Killough-Walden (The Heat (The Big Bad Wolf, #1))
β€œ
Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies; but the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave. We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old. To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Chastity and moral purity were qualities McCandless mulled over long and often. Indeed, one of the books found in the bus with his remains was a collection of stories that included TolΒ¬stoy’s β€œThe Kreutzer Sonata,” in which the nobleman-turned-ascetic denounces β€œthe demands of the flesh.” Several such passages are starred and highlighted in the dog-eared text, the margins filled with cryptic notes printed in McCandless’s distincΒ¬tive hand. And in the chapter on β€œHigher Laws” in Thoreau’s Walden, a copy of which was also discovered in the bus, McCandΒ¬less circled β€œChastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it.” We Americans are titillated by sex, obsessed by it, horrified by it. When an apparently healthy person, especially a healthy young man, elects to forgo the enticements of the flesh, it shocks us, and we leer. Suspicions are aroused. McCandless’s apparent sexual innocence, however, is a corolΒ¬lary of a personality type that our culture purports to admire, at least in the case of its more famous adherents. His ambivalence toward sex echoes that of celebrated others who embraced wilderness with single-minded passionβ€”Thoreau (who was a lifelong virgin) and the naturalist John Muir, most prominentlyβ€” to say nothing of countless lesser-known pilgrims, seekers, misΒ¬fits, and adventurers. Like not a few of those seduced by the wild, McCandless seems to have been driven by a variety of lust that supplanted sexual desire. His yearning, in a sense, was too powΒ¬erful to be quenched by human contact. McCandless may have been tempted by the succor offered by women, but it paled beside the prospect of rough congress with nature, with the cosmos itΒ¬self. And thus was he drawn north, to Alaska.
”
”
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
β€œ
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. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. 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. 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.
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
β€œ
Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. β€œDo you wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. β€œNo, we do not want any,” was the reply. β€œWhat!” exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, β€œdo you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well offβ€”that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing followedβ€”he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one’s while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men’s while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
β€œ
Yet, for my part, I was never usually squeamish; I could sometimes eat a fried rat with a good relish, if it were necessary. I am glad to have drunk water so long, for the same reason that I prefer the natural sky to an opium-eater’s heaven. I would fain keep sober always; and there are infinite degrees of drunkenness. I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor; and think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah, how low I fail when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America. Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. Nature is well adapted to our weakness as our strength. The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well nigh incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! or, what if we had been taken sick? How vigilant we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant. Confucius said, β€œTo know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” When one man has reduced a fact of the imagination to be a fact to his understanding, I foresee that all men will at length establish their lives on that basis.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
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One day when I went out to my wood-pile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another. Having once got hold they never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a bellum, a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying, both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely.
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Henry David Thoreau (Walden)