Walden Simplicity Essay

Walden Simplicity Essay-15
Henry David Thoreau, a man who cried for “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”, might be rather despondent over the changes that have taken place in the world since the nineteenth century. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.

I begin my notes with a short video of Walden Pond to incite some interest.

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It is the technological improvements, or the “luxury and heedless expenses” that exist in such abundance in the twenty-first century, which would greatly discourage him (136). This is an age in which people feel the need to be constantly in motion, constantly speaking, always at the ready to be contacted.

One feature of American life that Thoreau would be most critical of, would be the suffocating luxuries. Thoreau, who took up residence in a house “in the woods,” one “without plastering or chimney,” would hardly find it appealing to be constantly in contact with other people.

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He writes, comically: I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. These “improvements,” as we call them, Thoreau would view as exhaustive and self-destructive.

We come up with new ideas before we have made proper use of the old ones.

If Thoreau were to retreat to Walden Pond today, would he bring along the internet?

This question, suggested by a recent Christian Science Monitor headline, gets to the heart of important aspect of Thoreau's project.

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