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Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them. Options
Daemon
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:00:00 AM
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Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Wanderer
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:18:27 AM

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I guess Henry never heard the saying, "Beauty is only skin deep."
Nisar Akhtar
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:23:57 AM

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Beauty lies in the beholder's eyes.
JUSTIN Excellence
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:14:52 AM

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The hands move, the lips move...Ideas gush from his words,
And his eyes devour!
He is an island of Selfdom.
-- a description from "A Manual of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan






über laboratorium dauernd zur Naturtreue
Bully_rus
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:51:45 AM
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Nowadays, people more rely on plastic surgery than on nobleness... I wonder what Thoreau's sensuality may particularly contain?
Robert Imgrat
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:57:35 AM

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Bully_rus wrote: (...) plastic surgery ... Drool Drool
srilalitha p
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3:13:29 AM

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In twentyfirst century practicaity replaced nobleness!
JMV
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 4:30:55 AM

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Have you ever thought someone was very attractive until he or she spoke? Getting to know someone can greatly endear them to us, or degrade our perception of them, even where physical characteristics are concerned.

Very deep . . . in a shallow sort of way.
NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 6:10:31 AM

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Wanderer wrote:
I guess Henry never heard the saying, "Beauty is only skin deep."

That's half of a common Aussie saying: Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone!

When you make an assumption, you make an ass of u & umption! - NeuroticHellFem
monamagda
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 7:44:46 AM

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Context from : Henry David Thoreau: Walden

11. Higher Laws

All sensuality is one, though it takes many forms; all purity is one. It is the same whether a man eat, or drink, or cohabit, or sleep sensually. They are but one appetite, and we only need to see a person do any one of these things to know how great a sensualist he is. The impure can neither stand nor sit with purity. When the reptile is attacked at one mouth of his burrow, he shows himself at another. If you would be chaste, you must be temperate. What is chastity? How shall a man know if he is chaste? He shall not know it. We have heard of this virtue, but we know not what it is. We speak conformably to the rumor which we have heard. From exertion come wisdom and purity; from sloth ignorance and sensuality. In the student sensuality is a sluggish habit of mind. An unclean person is universally a slothful one, one who sits by a stove, whom the sun shines on prostrate, who reposes without being fatigued. If you would avoid uncleanness, and all the sins, work earnestly, though it be at cleaning a stable. Nature is hard to be overcome, but she must be overcome. What avails it that you are Christian, if you are not purer than the heathen, if you deny yourself no more, if you are not more religious? I know of many systems of religion esteemed heathenish whose precepts fill the reader with shame, and provoke him to new endeavors, though it be to the performance of rites merely.

I hesitate to say these things, but it is not because of the subject -- I care not how obscene my words are -- but because I cannot speak of them without betraying my impurity. We discourse freely without shame of one form of sensuality, and are silent about another. We are so degraded that we cannot speak simply of the necessary functions of human nature. In earlier ages, in some countries, every function was reverently spoken of and regulated by law. Nothing was too trivial for the Hindoo lawgiver, however offensive it may be to modern taste. He teaches how to eat, drink, cohabit, void excrement and urine, and the like, elevating what is mean, and does not falsely excuse himself by calling these things trifles.

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

http://www.literaturepage.com/read/walden-166.html
mudbudda669
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9:08:06 AM

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wait was wrong with sensuality ?
Gary98
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:07:31 PM

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Pretty or ugly, one has to ask "are you into men/women? Really?" these days to find a boy/girl friend. I am glad I do not have to ask that question.

How many of you asked yourself that question?Anxious Am I right to ask this question?
isaaac
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 1:01:12 PM
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mudbudda669 wrote:
wait was wrong with sensuality ?
Henry looks verry sensual...Lips like sails in a wind,probably from living ina cabin ...
Milica Boghunovich
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:34:37 PM
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Daemon wrote:
Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


Applause
Milica Boghunovich
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:46:09 PM
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isaaac wrote:
mudbudda669 wrote:
wait was wrong with sensuality ?
Henry looks verry sensual...Lips like sails in a wind,probably from living ina cabin ...


This is an offense to a truly great individual! His features are refined... but the features of the most handsome male or the most beautiful female can be soiled with hatred, mean and cheating disposition, and base sexual or money greedy and murderous practices...
Peter O'Connor - Dundalk
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 4:13:49 PM

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Eugenics were seen as a reliable science in his times: a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits
Virginia Lathan
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:16:07 PM

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I might be missing Thoreau’s point in this quote. And this is after I even read monamagda's ever so helpful additional contextual information that the quote was pulled from. However, if I just take the quote as I understand it, I have to agree with some of the other commentators on this forum: Thoreau’s insight doesn’t pertain to today’s sentiments.

His statement reminds me of the 1993 movie, “Wide Sargasso Sea,” which was based on Jean Rhys’ book by the same name. And Rhys’ book is considered to be his modern-day version of Charles Bronte’s 1847 novel “Jane Eyre.” The movie portrays this incredibly beautiful, sensual young woman who lived on the tropical island of Jamaica. She was happy; she was free. She used her sensuality to instinctively address her husband’s needs. The Englishman she married was first enchanted by her and loved her fiercely. But then he became afraid of her because he didn’t understand her sensuality. He analyzed it and decided it was madness. So he took her to his home in England to try to get her to be more like the stiff noble women he was used to. It didn’t work. In fact, the relocation to the cold, rigid country actually did drive her mad and she ended up killing herself.

So in my opinion, sensuality rules and we should enjoy it if we’re fortunate enough to experience it.
Verbatim
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:09:56 AM
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Daemon wrote:
Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


To refine one's features, as opposed to make them coarse (imbrute) in Thoreau's quote, refers not just to facial attributes-- least of all carnal beauty in particular.
He speaks of a spirituality manifested in an appearance polished by what one has acquired through one's own efforts and virtue, rather than inborn characteristics
of physical beauty.

Thoreau had certainly heard of the saying mentioned by Wanderer, indeed he may tell us how to look beyond, or beneath, beauty in a person, much like Sir Thomas Overbury had said :
"All the carnal beauty of my wife is but skin-deep."
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