Our answer is because you’ll grow a great mind like his. And his was great, because only a great mind grown on the classics could have worked out his answer:
Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies; but the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave. We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old. To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
(Quoted from page 72 of Walden and “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau. Signet Classic, 1960.)
For a brief biography of Henry David Thoreau, click here. For images of or relating to Henry David Thoreau, click here.