Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. He is sometimes cited as an individualist anarchist as well as an inspiration to anarchists. Though Civil Disobedience calls for improving rather than abolishing government, the direction of this improvement aims at anarchism (ie no government). Here are the most famous quotes by Henry David Thoreau.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
There is no remedy for love, but to love more.
I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.
Things do not change; we change.
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
This world is but a canvas for our imagination.
I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.
Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
I can alter my life by altering my attitude. He who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.
For more quotes from this author, visit the Henry Author Page for a more extensive listing.