Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably.—Walden
Ex oriente lux may still be the motto of scholars, for the Western world has not yet derived from the East all the light which it is destined to receive thence.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
I walk out into a nature such as the old prophets and poets Menu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in. You may name it America, but it is not America. Neither Americus Vespucius, nor Columbus, nor the rest were the discoverers of it. There is a truer account of it in Mythology than in any history of America so called that I have seen.—"Walking"
I would make education a pleasant thing both to the teacher and the scholar. This discipline, which we allow to be the end of life, should not be one thing in the schoolroom, and another in the street. We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him.—Thoreau to Orestes Brownson, 30 December 1837
It is strange that men are in such a haste to get fame as teachers rather than knowledge as learners.—Journal, 11 March 1856
Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
New England can hire all the wise men in the world to come and teach her, and board them round the while, and not be provincial at all. That is the uncommon school we want. Instead of noble men, let us have noble villages of men. If it is necessary, omit one bridge over the river, go round a little there, and throw one arch at least over the darker gulf of ignorance which surrounds us.—Walden
Scholars are wont to sell their birthright for a mess of learning.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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
The laborer whose body is weary does not require the same food with the scholar whose brain is weary.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 2 May 1848
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