It seems to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.—Journal, 11 April 1852
It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work.—"Life Without Principle"
Making no complaint, offering no encouragement, one human being is made aware of the neighboring and contemporaneous existence of another.—Journal, 1837-47
Man is not at once born into society—hardly into the world. The world that he is hides for a time the world that he inhabits.—Journal, 14 March 1838
Many seem to be so constituted that they can respect only somebody who is dead or something which is distant.—Journal, 28 November 1860
Men frequently say to me, "I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially." I am tempted to reply to such,—This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.—Walden
Men have become the tools of their tools. The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer.—Journal, 14 July 1845
Men will pay something to look into a travelling showman's box but not to look upon the fairest prospects on the earth.—Journal, 25 May 1851
Methinks it would be some advantage to philosophy if men were named merely in the gross, as they are known. It would be necessary only to know the genus and perhaps the race or variety, to know the individual.—"Natural History of Massachusetts"
Most things are strong in one direction, a straw longitudinally, a board in the direction of its edge, but he brave man is a perfect sphere, which cannot fall on its flat side and is equally strong every way.—"The Service"
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