May 12, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How rarely I meet with a man who can be free, even in thought! We live according to rule. Some men are bedridden; all, world-ridden.

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I take my neighbor, an intellectual man, out into the woods and invite him to take a new and absolute view of things, to empty clean out of his thoughts all institutions of men and start again; but he can’t do it, he sticks to his traditions and his crochets. He thinks that governments, colleges, newspapers, etc., are from everlasting to everlasting.