A history of animated nature must itself be animated.—Journal, 18 February 1860
A truly good book is something as wildly natural and primitive, mysterious and marvelous, ambrosial and fertile, as a fungus or a lichen.—Journal, 16 November 1850
All the laws of nature will bend and adapt themselves to the least motion of man.—Journal, 1837-1846
As it is important to consider Nature from the point of view of science remembering nomenclature and system of men, and so, if possible, go a step further in that direction, so it is equally important often to ignore or forget all that men presume they know, and take an original and unprejudiced view of Nature, letting her make what impression she will on you, as the first men, and all children and natural men still do.—Journal, 28 February 1860
But cowardice is unscientific; for there cannot be a science of ignorance. There may be a science of bravery, for that advances; but a retreat is rarely well conducted; if it is, then is it an orderly advance in the face of circumstances.—"Natural History of Massachusetts"
How far can you carry your practicalness? How far does your knowledge really extend?—Journal, 7 June 1851
How little I know of that arbor-vitae when I have learned only what science can tell me!—Journal, 5 March 1858
am in the lecture  field—but my subjects are not scientific—[rather Transcendentalist & aesthetic. I devote myself to the absorption of nature generally.—Thoreau to Charles C. Morse, 12 July 1860
I have become sadly scientific.—Thoreau to Sophia Thoreau, 13 July 1852
I have been making pencils all day, and then at evening walked to see an old schoolmate who is going to help make Welland Canal navigable for ships round Niagara. He cannot see any such motives and modes of living as I; professes not to look beyond securing certain "creature comforts". And so we go silently different ways . . .—Journal, 17 March 1842
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