It is strange that men are in such a haste to get fame as teachers rather than knowledge as learners.—Journal, 11 March 1856
It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. Man cannot know in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of the sun: Ὡς τὶ νοῶν, οὐ κεῖνον νοήσεις,—“You will not perceive that, as perceiving a particular thing,” say the Chaldean Oracles. — "Walking"—"Walking"
Knowledge can be acquired only by a corresponding experience. How can we know what we are told merely? Each man can interpret another’s experience only by his own.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Knowledge does not come to us by details but by lieferungs from the gods.—Journal, 7 July 1851
Nature would not appear so rich, the profusion so rich, if we knew a use for everything.—Journal, 11 August 1853
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. These same questions that disturb and puzzle and confound us have in their turn occurred to all the wise men; not one has been omitted; and each has answered them, according to his ability, by his words and his life.—Walden
The heroic books, even if printed in the character of our mother tongue, will always be in a language dead to degenerate times; and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line, conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have. — Walden—Walden