Writers are a natural and irresistible aristocracy (Walden 70)

More about books. Thoreau writes:

“Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind.”

All but a tiny minority of writers are little known and poorly paid — and this was certainly true of Henry during his lifetime. But it can be said that while kings and presidents come and go, in the long run it is ideas that change the world… and books are an efficient vehicle for ideas.

But can’t you hear a bit of self-congratulation here? OK, we writers may be broke and unknown, but never mind that — we’re a natural and irresistible aristocracy!

On the other hand, what’s the point of writing at all unless you think you can change the world just a little bit, even by giving one other person a good idea they hadn’t thought of before?

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

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