old notions

I sometimes despair of getting anything quite simple and honest done in this world by the help of men. They would have to be passed through a powerful press first, to squeeze their old notions out of them, so that they would not soon get upon their legs again; and then there would be some one in the company with a maggot in his head, hatched from an egg deposited there nobody knows when, for not even fire kills these things, and you would have lost your labor. (Thoreau, Walden)

What Thoreau didn’t anticipate perhaps is that the only such presses currently in service are apparently designed only to squeeze out our ability to see the world.