Henry David Thoreau Quotations: Philosophy & Philosophers
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"
The matutine intellect of the poet, keeping in advance of the glare of philosophy, always dwells in this auroral atmosphere.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
In the last stage of civilization, Poetry, Religion and Philosophy will be one.—Journal, 17 December 1837
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat–Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions.—Walden
It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. Man cannot know in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of the sun: Ὡς τὶ νοῶν, οὐ κεῖνον νοήσεις,—“You will not perceive that, as perceiving a particular thing,” say the Chaldean Oracles.—"Walking"
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"
It would be no reproach to a philosopher, that he knew the future better than the past, or even than the present. It is better worth knowing.—"Thomas Carlyle and His Works"
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 men have no inclination, no rapids, no cascades, but marshes, and alligators, and miasma instead.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Music soothes the din of philosophy and lightens incessantly over the heads of sages.—Journal, 23 June 1840