Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science. – Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau probably needs little introduction. He was a transcendentalist, an author, a poet, a philosopher, a historian – and much more than that – in the 19th century.
He is probably most known for his book Walden, which explored the idea of simple living in natural surroundings.
What prompted him to say that men are closer to truth in their superstitions than in their science? What did he mean by that?
Was he suggesting that our intuitions are better at sensing truth than what can be proven through science? Or was he being sarcastic or facetious?
There are several different ways of defining the word, “superstition”, but among them are “irrational fear of the unknown” or “a blindly accepted belief.”
Was Thoreau really saying that beliefs not based in reason or knowledge could be truer than our scientific findings?
What do you think? What was Thoreau really getting at? Why did he conclude that our superstitions are nearer the truth than science?