The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the character of individuals.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
There are infinite degrees of life, from that which is next to sleep and death, to that which is forever awake and immortal. We must not confound man and man. We cannot conceive of a greater difference than between the life of one man and that of another.—Journal, 13 January 1857
We are constantly invited to be what we are; as to something worthy and noble. I never waited but for myself to come round; none ever detained me, but I lagged or tagged after myself.—Journal, 2 February 1841
We are independent of the change we detect.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
We occasionally meet an individual of a character and disposition so entirely the reverse of our own that we wonder if he can indeed be another man like ourselves. We doubt if we ever could draw any nearer to him, and understand him.—Journal, 7 May 1838
Whatever has not come under the sway of man is wild. In this sense original and independent men are wild—not tamed and broken by society.—Journal, 3 September 1851
You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.—Journal, 8 February 1857
All quotation categories