The Living Thoughts of Thoreau

The Living Thoughts of Thoreau

The Living Thoughts of Thoreau

The Living Thoughts of Thoreau

Excerpt

When I think of philosophy and philosophers as they range through the centuries from earliest Greece to this hour, I am impressed with the fact that all are men of genius, temperamentally and deeply moved, like poets, by the phenomena of life by which they find themselves surrounded. And in that sense, and in that sense only, that is, temperamentally, wrestling with the why as well as the how of it all. For we know, of course, that science in its technical or practical approach toward the phenomena of existence has long since abandoned almost every hope of an answer to the why of things, and has concentrated on the how of what it sees going on about us. So Galileo, for instance, as early as sixteen hundred, troubled by the until then unsolved problem of whether the earth attracts all bodies with the same force or speed, made a test by dropping things of differing weights from a tower and found that one arrived as quickly as the other; also, that to arrive at the same time, none required that it be either pushed, pulled, or acted on in any way other than by the one force attracting it to the earth. Simple, seemingly; and yet thousands of years of observations by men of their environment had passed before these primary facts were arrived at. Then, too, the fact of gravitation as a law was only established by Newton as late as 1666.

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