I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.—Journal, 3 January 1853
I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.—"Civil Disobedience"
I suppose that what in other men is religion is in me love of nature.—Journal, 30 October 1842
I think that the standing miracle to man is man. Behind the paling yonder, come rain or shine, hope or doubt, there dwells a man an actual being who can sympathize with our sublimest thoughts.—Journal, 21 May 1851
I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a Freedom and Culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.—"Walking"
If it is possible to conceive of an event outside to humanity, it is not of the slightest significance, though it were the explosion of a planet.—Journal, 6 May 1854
In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it.—"Life Without Principle"
It is for want of a man that there are so many men.—"Life Without Principle"
It is possible for a man wholly to disappear and be merged in his manners.—Journal, 21 July 1851
It is with science as with ethics,—we cannot know truth by contrivance and method; the Baconian is as false as any other, and with all the helps of machinery and the arts, the most scientific will still be the healthiest and friendliest man, and possess a more perfect Indian wisdom.—"Natural History of Massachusetts"