A history of animated nature must itself be animated.—Journal, 18 February 1860
A man will not need to study history to find out what is best for his own culture.—Walden
After walking by night several times, I now walk by day, but I am not aware of any crowning advantage in it.—Journal, 15 June 1851
All questions rely on the present for their solution. Time measures nothing but itself.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 
Ancient history has an air of antiquity. It should be more modern. It is written as if the spectator should be thinking of the backside of the picture on the wall, or as if the author expected that the dead would be his readers, and wished to detail to them their own experience.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
And do we live but in the present? How broad a line is that?—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 
As for your high towers and monuments, there was a crazy fellow once in this town who undertook to dig through to China, and he got so far that, as he said, he heard the Chinese pots and kettles rattle; but I think that I shall not go out of my way to admire the hole which he made. Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East—to know who built them. For my part, I should like to know who in those days did not build them—who were above such trifling.—Walden
Ask me for a certain number of dollars if you will, but do not ask me for my afternoons.—Journal, 16 September 1859
Both for bodily and mental health, court the present.—Journal, 28 December 1852
By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.—Journal, 26 July 1851
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