In a Thoreau Mood

Excuse this a-bit-off-topic post, but I am in the mood for some Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry — determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through Church and State, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake;”

– Henry David Thoreau

3 responses to “In a Thoreau Mood

  1. good to know he read homer, its interesting to read one’s intellectual approach to equanimity. bravo thoreau🙂

    btw, you followed his advise when you went “off topic”, minus the apology🙂

    bh

  2. Heh, yes indeed. The guy is quite impressive to be honest, very eloquent, at least from whatever little I have read by him. Incidentally, I came across him a number of years back when I first saw The Dead Poets Society (a good movie, but geez, coming across Thoreau on Hollywood?? that must be a rare occurence). I think Thoreau is a favourite amongst post-modernists. He is prominently featured in Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy (a good albeit slightly boring read).

  3. I think every true radical, has gotten some inspiration, from Thoreau.

    Regards.

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