Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Whole Ground of Human Life

A couple of days ago I quoted the good book, Ecclesiastes, and here is that quote again in the fine language of old King James; "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." -1:9

In beginning to reread Walden, I discovered a statement by dear Thoreau that seems to imply his disagreement with the biblical sage. How now?

To dear Thoreau it only seems as though "there is no new thing under the sun." He says, "The whole ground of human life seems to some to have been gone over by their predecessors, both the heights and the valleys, and all things to have been cared for." "But," he adds, "man's capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried."

I can't decide with whom I agree. Experience persuades me of the former, but imagination prods me to believe in the latter.

As long as it's made clear that I read "better" as the "larger" part and not the "finer", I most agree with Thoreau on this other point; "The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost."

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