Society Quotations


After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined, and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance. I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard, and course. A hard, insensible man whom we liken to a rock is indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have no sympathy, I go to commune with the rock, whose hearts are comparatively soft.—Journal, 15 November 1853
Ah! I need solitude. I have come forth to this hill at sunset to see the forms of the mountains in the horizon—to behold and commune with something grander than man. Their mere distance and unprofanedness is an infinite encouragement. It is with infinite yearning and aspiration that I seek solitude, more and more resolved and strong; but with a certain weakness that I seek society ever.—Journal, 14 August 1854
As for the dispute about solitude and society, any comparison is impertinent.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 21 May 1856
How much of the life of certain men goes to sustain—to make respected—the institutions of society.—Journal, 6 September 1851
I fear the dissipation that traveling, going into society, even the best, the enjoyment of intellectual luxuries, imply.—Journal, 10 March 1856
I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient.—"Life Without Principle"
I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.—Walden
I hate that my motive for visiting a friend should be that I want society; that it should lie in my poverty and weakness, and not in his and my riches and strength.—Journal, 14 February 1852
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
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes . . . When I ask for a garment of a particular form, my tailoress tells me gravely, "They do not make them so now," not emphasizing the "They" at all, as if she quoted an authority as impersonal as the Fates . . . We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same . . .—Walden
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