Not out of those, on whom systems of education have exhausted their culture, comes the helpful giant to destroy the old or to build the new, but out of unhandselled savage nature, out of terrible Druids and Berserkirs, come at last Alfred and Shakespeare.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).)
The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Civil Disobedience," originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government" (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 372, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
I sometimes have the sense that I live my life as a writer with my nose pressed against the wide, shiny plate glass window of the "mainstream" culture. The world seems full of straight, large-circulation, slick periodicals which wouldn't think of reviewing my book and bookstores which will never order it.
(Jan Clausen (b. 1943), U.S. author, editor, and lesbian feminist. A Movement of Poets (1982).
Clausen published her fiction and poetry through "small" or "alternative" presses and magazines.)
The sceptics, a kind of nomads, despising all settled culture of the land, broke up from time to time all civil society. Fortunately their number was small, and they could not prevent the old settlers from returning to cultivate the ground afresh, though without any fixed plan or agreement.
(Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher. Critique of Pure Reason, Introduction, p. 2, Kant Selections, ed. T.M. Greene, Scribners, New York (1920).
Kant's evaluation of skepticism.)