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5

This comes from Confucius, in his Analects, 9.26. The Master said: “You can snatch away the general of a large army, but you cannot snatch away the will of even the lowliest of men.” This connection is made in Bill McKibben's edition of Walden, page 307.


4

From the context, it appears that the quote is saying that everything progresses - what was good for the ancient people is not necessarily good for us now. For instance, a house is for people today, and we're fine with that. A cave was for the cavemen, and he was fine with that. What your grandparents used is not necessarily what you want to use.


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