27 February 1851

by layman k

Of two men, one of whom knows nothing about a subject, and, what is extremely rare, knows that he  knows nothing, and the other really knows something but thinks that he knows all, — what great advantage has the latter over the former ? which is the  best to deal with ? I do not know that knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise, or a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we had called knowledge before; an indefinite sense of the grandeur and glory of the universe. It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. But man cannot be said to know in any higher sense, [any more] than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of the sun.

A culture which imports much muck from the meadows and deepens the soil, not that which trusts to heating manures and improved agricultural implements only.

from the journals of Henry David Thoreau