Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Society & Civilization (12 Quotes)


    Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are.

    Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure,-as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw

    Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do want society.

    In the streets and in society I am almost invariablycheap and dissipated, my life is unspeakably mean.No amount of gold or respectability would in the leastredeem it,-- dining with the Governor or a member of CongressBut alone in the distant woods or fields,in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits,even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this,when a villager would be thinking of his inn,I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related,and that cold and solitude are friends of mine.I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalentto what others get by churchgoing and prayer.I come home to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are,grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every dayabout half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it.I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America,out of my head and be sane a part of every day.

    If I shall sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I'm sure that, for me, there would be nothing left worth living for.


    Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.

    In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.

    You think that I am impoverishing myself by withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.


    I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

    As in geology, so in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society.

    Four things to think about. 1. Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. 2. Let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred. 3. Keep three chairs in your house. One for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. 4. To preserve your relationship to nature, make your life more moral, more pure, more innocent.


    More Henry David Thoreau Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Life - Nature - Mind - Friendship - World - Truth - Money & Wealth - Thought & Thinking - Law & Regulation - Love - Society & Civilization - Time - Morning - Dreams - God - Wisdom & Knowledge - Work & Career - Books - View All Henry David Thoreau Quotations

    More Henry David Thoreau Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Walden, or Life in the Woods
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