I talked of buying Conantum once but for want of money we did not come to terms—but I have farmed it in my own fashion every year since.—Journal, 31 August 1851
I would make education a pleasant thing both to the teacher and the scholar. This discipline, which we allow to be the end of life, should not be one thing in the schoolroom, and another in the street. We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him.—Thoreau to Orestes Brownson, 30 December 1837
Indians like to get along with the least possible communication and ado.—The Maine Woods
It takes two to speak the truth,—one to speak, and another to hear.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
One studies books of science merely to learn the language of naturalists—to be able to communicate with them.—Journal, 23 March 1853
Silence is the communing of conscious soul with itself.—Journal, December 1838
Some men endeavor to live a constrained life, to subject their whole lives to their wills, as he who said he would give a sign if he were conscious after his head was cut off,—but he gave no sign. Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.—Journal, 12 March 1853
The language of friendship is not words but meanings. It is an intelligence above language.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The man I meet with is not often so instructive as the silence he breaks.—Journal, 7 January 1857
To what end do I lead a simple life at all, pray? That I may teach others to simplify their lives? — and so all our lives be simplified merely, like an algebraic formula? Or not, rather, that I may make use of the ground I have cleared to live more worthily and profitably?—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 26 September 1855
All quotation categories