Thoreau starts with his own perspective on things, with the first person, but that’s not the end but only the beginning of taking subjectivity — my subjective stand — seriously (and setting aside, for the moment, how I am an object to myself or an object in the manipulative or cognitive scheme of someone else). We move with the modulated stance of any “I” – open to any “you” or “it” – open to any “we” or “they,” even to any other “me.”
The immeasurable importance of this subjective stance has been lost in the wake of ever-colonizing cognitive styles that groom the sciences and their allied technologies, styles that further bureaucratic-administrative idioms that dismiss both commonplace sentiment and deep passion (something murky and dangerous) – that refuse instruction from the personal idiom that is a power of literature, philosophy, and the arts. Artistic, literary, or philosophical production and reception are relegated to the provinces of entertainment or pastimes. After all, there is no yardstick to measure the social or career beneﬁts of loving Shakespeare or Wallace Stevens or wondering at the genius of Ella Fitzgerald, Basho, Kierkegaard, or Thoreau. But why should there be?
These are ﬁnal goods.
People nowadays think scientists are there to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc., to entertain them. That the latter have something to teach them — that never occurs to them. — Wittgenstein, 1940