"The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, … Continue reading Thoughts on Labor – 1854
"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." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Take some advice from an unlikely hero, Don Quixote. Do your own thing... Have an adventure, go live … Continue reading Dream On and March to the Beat of Your Own Drummer
"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Heavy words when you think about them. I like nice stuff. I buy good clothes, decent shoes, and drive a new(ish) vehicle. We all like new, … Continue reading Real Comforts
Here's an interesting article about Thoreau's early career and the incident that may have been a catalyst for his move out of town into the woods nearby. As it happened a year before the Walden experiment, it may have had some bearing on the idea. From the Boston Globe: On April 30, 1844, Thoreau started … Continue reading Henry David Thoreau, “Woods Burner”
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, … Continue reading A Little Art and Some Wise Words from Thoreau for the End of the Week
"Men and boys are learning all kinds of trades but how to make men of themselves. They learn to make houses; but they are not so well housed, they are not so contented in their houses, as the woodchucks in their holes. What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable … Continue reading Making Your Attitude
“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, … Continue reading “The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise”
"A sad soul can kill you quicker, much quicker, than any germ." Henry David Thoreau
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." Walden, Henry David Thoreau 1854.
"I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls." Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1854. There is more to visiting than empty talk.
Books: “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not … Continue reading Books
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Build your dream, justify it later...
"It is never too late to give up your prejudices." Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1854.
“Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.” Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.
Your average English major of the past decade has decided to dismiss the body of Henry David Thoreau’s work with one scandalous factoid: Thoreau’s mother did his laundry. For some reason, even the well-read think that this is a relevant fact, as if his dependence on friends and family cancelled out his transcendental conclusions.
But you don’t have to be a die-hard Thoreauvian to see the problem with this mama’s-boy attack. Though my dog-eared Walden perpetually floats to the top of my bedside stack, it is not out of blind respect for the Father of Chill that I defend the guy. My only claim to allegiance is that I read his book.
One Richard Smith of the Thoreau Society has my back:
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Part of a beautiful essay by Henry David Thoreau Nowadays almost all man’s improvements, so called, as the building of houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap. A people who would begin by burning the fences … Continue reading Another from Thoreau
Part of a beautiful essay by Henry David Thoreau Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a certain roughness of character—will cause a thicker cuticle to grow over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and hands, or as severe manual labor robs … Continue reading Excerpt from “Walking”
More great thoughts from Henry David Thoreau on simplifying. “I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first … Continue reading Simplify
I WISH to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, … Continue reading Walking (Henry David Thoreau)