Henry D. Thoreau.
“I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.”
So begins Henry David Thoreau’s US classic Walden. The book documents Thoreau’s personal journey of self-discovery and self-reliance.
By living a simple life in the wilderness, Thoreau hoped to learn more about the “civilized” world from which he had removed himself. As a transcendentalist, Thoreau rejected rationalism. He believed that truth and morality came from Nature and human divinity not from government and organizations.
Written over 150 years ago, Walden can still speak to us of our lives and how we might improve them.
“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found
a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity,
independence, magnanimity, and trust.”
“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he
hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.”
A replica of Thoreau's cabin near Walden Pond with his statue. (Credit: RhythmicQuietude at en.wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.)
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