A man does best when he is most himself.—Journal, 21 January 1852
At each step man measures himself against the system.—Journal, 31 January 1841
How many men have you seen that did not belong to any sect, or party, or clique.—Journal, 9 August 1858
I am not alone if I stand by myself.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.—Walden
Individuals, like nations, must have suitable broad and natural boundaries, even a considerable neutral ground, between them.—Walden
Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.—"Resistance to Civil Government"
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"
The true student will cleave ever to the good, recognizing no Past, no Present; but wherever he emerges from the bosom of time, his course is not with the sun,—eastward or westward,—but ever towards the seashore.—Journal, 15 February 1838