Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage. (Economy.57)
"Civilization" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as being enlightened. In modern times, according to Thoreau, civilization is just another word for making money.
Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. (Economy.78)
Thoreau questions whether American society, and any other nationalistic society, is headed down the right road. Should a nation be interested merely in becoming economically and militarily powerful? Or should it have other goals? This is something that Americans and other world citizens still struggle with to this day. Way to stay relevant, Thoreau.
The customs of some savage nations might, perchance, be profitably imitated by us, for they at least go through the semblance of casting their slough annually. (Economy.91)
One "savage" custom Thoreau wants to revive is the busk, where people get rid of their old possessions. It would free people of attachment to their worldly goods (and make a really good reality TV show, don't you think?).