Two Tuesday Quotes: Thoreau and Mead


Things do not change; we change.
Henry David Thoreau

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
Margaret Mead
On Thoreau:
Over the years, Thoreau’s reputation has been strong, although he is often cast into roles — the hermit in the wilderness, the prophet of passive resistance (so dear to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King) — that he would have surely seen as somewhat alien. His work is so rich, and so full of the complex contradictions that he explored, that his readers keep reshaping his image to fit their own needs. Perhaps he would have appreciated that, for he seems to have wanted most to use words to force his readers to rethink their own lives creatively, different though they may be, even as he spent his life rethinking his, always asking questions, always looking to nature for greater intensity and meaning for his life.
– A comment by Ann Woodlief Emerita Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University
On Mead:
Of her life’s work, cultural anthropologist, museum curator and feminist scholar Margaret Mead once said, “I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples — faraway peoples — so that Americans might better understand themselves.”
– Meredith Melnick’s Time magazine piece about Mead as one of the 25 most powerful women of the past century
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