This theme has been intriguing me – how far is expectation prophecy?  How far can you create something by expecting it?  Thoreau touches on it a few times.  Elsewhere he mentions that fear can create danger and courage dispel it.

And what is a sense of expectancy?  Sometimes you have a hunch something is just around the corner or in the making, and sometimes you’re right.

‘Expectation may amount to prophecy.’  2 April 1852


Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 120

Photo credit: Artturi_Mantysaari at


  1. Markku Wilenius

    This is a highly interesting note. As a futurist I strongly believe our intentions, expressed as expectations, have the capacity to create future. It is not the whole truth about how the future unfolds but human being in this way is a Creator too. I should think this is what Thoreau meant.

    • beatriceotto

      Many thanks Markku, and I agree with your interpretation of Thoreau’s comment. It keeps playing on my mind! All best, Beatrice

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