Our science, so called, is always more barren and mixed with error than our sympathies.

What did Henry David Thoreau mean by:

Our science, so called, is always more barren and mixed with error than our sympathies.

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This quote is an expression of skepticism towards the infallibility of science, suggesting that it is more prone to error and less fruitful than our empathetic understanding of the world. It highlights the human tendency to trust empirical data and scientific facts over our inherent emotional intelligence and intuitive understanding of the world.

The quote implies that science, despite its rigorous methods and systematic approach, is not as infallible or as fruitful as our empathetic understanding of the world. This is because science is always limited by the current state of knowledge and technology, and is therefore always incomplete and subject to revision. Furthermore, science can be influenced by the biases and errors of the scientists themselves, making it less reliable than it appears.

On the other hand, our sympathies, or our emotional and intuitive understanding of the world, are seen as more reliable and fruitful. This is because they are based on our direct experience of the world and our innate ability to understand and connect with others. They are not limited by the current state of knowledge or technology, and are not subject to the same kind of errors and biases as science.

In today’s world, this idea can be applied in various ways. In the field of psychology, for example, there is a growing recognition of the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence, alongside traditional scientific methods, in understanding human behavior. Similarly, in the field of medicine, there is a growing emphasis on the importance of empathy and the doctor-patient relationship, alongside medical technology and scientific knowledge, in healing and wellness.

In terms of personal development, this idea suggests that we should not rely solely on scientific knowledge and rational thinking, but should also cultivate our emotional intelligence and empathetic understanding of the world. It suggests that we can gain a deeper and more fruitful understanding of the world, and of ourselves, by paying attention to our feelings and intuitions, and by connecting with others on an emotional level.

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