Friday, March 25, 2011

By closing the eyes and slumbering and consenting to be deceived

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By closing the eyes and slumbering and consenting to be deceived by shows, men establish and confirm their daily life of routine and habit everywhere, which still is built on purely illusory foundations ...
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I have read in a Hindu book, that "there was a king's son, who, bing expelled in infancy from his native city, was brought up by a forester, and, growing to maturity in that state, imagined himself to belong to the barbarous race with which he lived.  One of his father's ministers having discovered him, revealed to him what he was, and the misconception of his character was removed, and he know himself to be a prince.  So soul," continues the Hindu philosopher, "from the circumstances in which it is placed, mistakes its own character, until the truth is revealed to it by some holy teacher, and then it knows itself to be Brahme."
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I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things.

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~ Henry David Thoreau
from Walden, "Where I lived, and what I lived for," 1854

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