Of the many paradoxes in the Divine Legation, few are more extravagant than the theory that Virgil, in the sixth book of his Aeneid, intended to allegorize, in the visit of his hero and the Sibyl to the shades, the initiation of Aeneas, as a lawgiver, into the Eleusinian mysteries.
The Hebrews shared the paradoxes of Orientals, and religious enthusiasm and ecstasy were prominent features.
This exquisite familiarity with bird and beast would make us love the memory of Thoreau if his egotism were triply as arrogant, if his often meaningless paradoxes were even more absurd, if his sympathies were even less humanitarian than we know them to have been.
No doubt these airy paradoxes were not always seriously taken; but it is significant that a common Roman proverb identified "philosophizing" (philosophatur) with thinking out some dirty trick.
But, like all the great paradoxes of philosophy, it has its value in directing our attention to a vital, yet much neglected, element of experience.