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!Free Ebook ☨ Walden & Civil Disobedience ♈ Amazing EPub, Walden Civil Disobedience By Henry David Thoreau This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Walden Civil Disobedience , Essay By Henry David Thoreau Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You I often credit this book with my philosophical awakening Thoreau presents a criticism of modern life, technology, economy, and wasteful culture from the perspective of one who has simplified his life and experienced something much closer to real independence than any other modern man Some have criticized him for not being truly and completely independent he lived on Emerson s property, he visited friends for the occasional dinner, he washed his clothes at his mother s house but I think these criticisms miss the point Total and complete self reliance is impossible in the modern world Thoreau came closer than any other writer or philosopher of his time.Read it for his pure and earnest love of nature, his witty and idiosyncratic style, his subtle humor, and his benediction to all of society that we always have an alternative to supporting an immoral status quo. This book alerted me to the fickleness of my own opinions.At first it all seemed rather nicethe majority of men live lives of quiet desperationand all that But then I found out about the doughnuts.Apparently every so often Thoreau would walk down the road to the nearby town where his Mum lived and she would treat him to doughnuts Thoreau in Walden doesn t mention the doughnuts, instead detailing the amount of beans he grew but for me the doughnuts torpedo the project in three ways.Firstly in crude calorific terms, secondly by underlining how Thoreau s experiment in independence is possible only within the context of his dependence on society both in the sense of the goods that the wider society produced and in the sense of social interaction, thirdly it presents his conversation with the passing Irishman and his family in a different light what Thoreau shows us inadvertently is not the contrast between life in the woods and life as a wage slave but the contrast between a life of being born into privilege, in which one has the personal connections that allows one to live on someone else s land and eat doughnuts without have to earn the money to buy them, and not having privilege in society What Thoreau could do was impossible for the Irishman and his family who he looks down on To clarify slightly view spoiler or to confuse matters further depending on your point of view hide spoiler Walden I take issue with a wealthy man living in a shack for a period and pretending that living one mile from town and having his mother do his laundry qualifies him to advise mankind to sell your clothes and keep your thoughts An experiment in simplicity, getting close to nature, I m all for it But when your experiment ends in a renewal of your previous lifestyle, how can you advise others to make changes that would leave them in the position permanently How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a bookThis month, two hundred years ago, Henry David Thoreau made his way into the world Thus it seemed like a good time to revisit his thorny classic, which filled me with such contradictory feelings the first time around.This time, I was struck first by how current Thoreau s book reads A vegetarian before it was fashionable, or even respectable a pioneer of nature writing and conservationism a godfather of activism and protest an author of lines that, even now, wouldn t be out of place in any self help book and the originator of the stunt book doing something unusual and then writing about it anticipating both performance art and reality television in his classic account of his life in the woods It is very easy to dislike Thoreau, or even to despise him Thoreau took himself very seriously He comes across as pretentious and magnificently condescending, while at the same time as na ve as a child For all his practicality, he was astoundingly impractical His insistence that everyone in Concord learn enough Latin and Greek to read the classic texts is characteristic of him a snobbish and pointless piece of advice, delivered with disdain His authorial personality is so often prickly and misanthropic, rebuking the world at every turn, and this mood is never lightened by an easy humor There is no Montaigne in this self chronicler instead, like Iago, he is nothing if not critical You wonder if anything but loons and books ever pleased him He was, in a word, a dour man The case against Thoreau is serious than just his off putting authorial personality The most common charge made against him is that of hypocrisy His book purports to be the record of a bold experiment in living in the woods He describes how he built his own house, grew his own beans, baked his own bread, and rhapsodizes about the solitude and isolation he created for himself But in reality he was living just 20 minutes from his ancestral home, squatting on land lent to him by his friend Emerson, and receiving frequent and plentiful visitors Apparently he went home weekly to get cookies from his mother, who also kindly delivered doughnuts and pies to our hero It is not reported whether he ate his cookies and doughnuts with milk.This is a damning fact, considering that Thoreau carefully documents all of his expenses and goes into excruciating detail as to his eating habits without mentioning a single cookie He gives the impression that he was a hermit on the very edge of society, living on the produce he created, savoring his lonely retreat from the world And all this is recorded with the stated intention of showing that self sufficiency is possible But if Thoreau himself can bear neither a diet of pure beans nor the stark isolation of true life in the woods, his whole experiment is a sham It is one thing for an ordinary citizen to be hypocritical it is another thing for a moralizing philosopher who repeatedly stresses the necessity of living in accordance with one s tenets.The case against Thoreau goes ever further than this For, if his practice didn t align with his preaching, his preaching didn t align with his preaching either Walden is a baffling bundle of contradictions Did Thoreau like the steam engines or hate them He excoriates them one moment, and the next he goes into rhapsodies about the locomotive He praises hunting as a way of bringing oneself closer with nature, and then he condemns all killing and eating of animals Here he is enjoining us to ignore fantasies and pay close attention to realityIf men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights EntertainmentAnd here he is telling us to do the oppositeIf you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost that is where they should be The perplexing thing about this inconsistency is that Thoreau never admits to hesitation or doubt He rattles off his opinions with the fervor of a zealot And yet even his zealotry is inconsistent, for it was Thoreau who famously saidIf 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 and far awayThis famous paean to self determination is ensconced in a book filled with biting scorn for those who do not agree with Thoreau In all likelihood, Thoreau himself was the least tolerant man in Concord Considering both his inconsistency in action and speech, it is difficult to know what exactly Thoreau, who is always urging us, is actually urging us to do.But I think that a strong case can be made for Thoreau, too especially now For Walden has aged remarkably well If anything, Thoreau s classic has become even relevant in our harried age.Thoreau flees to the woods because of a growing horror with every aspect of his contemporary society the unjust government, the growing consumerism, the obsession with technology, the increasing specialization of labor, the absorption of all leisure by work, the constant petty conversation, the disregard of wild nature The sources of this horror are, I think, in part mysterious to even himself, which might be one explanation for his inconsistency He is like a boxer swinging wildly at an invisible enemy, or a doctor prescribing medicines for an unknown malady But to be fair, we haven t gotten much closer to solving the problems that Thoreau tried to tackle with such spirit.For my part, I think Thoreau s instincts are right, even when his diagnoses and his cures are wrong His abhorrence of economic exchange, of interdependence, is an excellent example Modern society obviously could not exist without exchange the economy would collapse if we all chose to live like Thoreau advocates, and technological innovation would come to a standstill Yet Thoreau s abhorrence of intedependence is neither political nor economic, but moral He recognized quite clearly, I think, that in a complex economy, we are enmeshed in processes that have moral implications When we buy a product, for example, we don t know who made it or how they were treated When we patronize a shop, we don t know what the owner does with our money When we throw something away, we don t know where it ends up.Since the morality of any action is partly determined by its effects, and since many of those effects are hidden from view in a complex economy, to a certain extent we can t even know the morality of our own life This is why it was so inspiriting for Thoreau to build his own cabin and farm his own food he could be sure of his ethical footprint, so to speak, and so could take full responsibility for his actions Now, I don t think Thoreau wanted to do this for the sake of others he is extremely wary of do gooderism but for himself, since we cannot live authentically if we cannot know the effects of our actions.To borrow an idea from the philosopher John Lachs, this state of ignorance as to the sources and causes of our moral lives is one part of that modern alienation that Marxists have described When jobs become highly specialized, we might not be completely sure about our own effects within the organization in which we work I myself have been in that situation, churning out data to be used by unknown people for unknown ends Everyone in a complex economy, even a commercial farmer, is in this situation Thoreau s solution, isolating oneself in the woods, is I think undesirable since it consists in dissolving society completely which the misanthropic Thoreau might not have objected to but his experiment does at least help us to identify the causes of our quiet desperation Thoreau is also refreshing on the subject of work and leisure The glorification of works carries with it the denigration of leisure, which Thoreau realized When we consider only those activities as worthwhile that can make money for us, we spend our free hours in thoughtless relaxation or idling And yet working, even if it is remunerative, is too often degrading largely thanks to excessive specialization, which demands that we do the same thing over and over again, neglecting the full range of our capacities Work consumes our time and energy and leaves us few moments for reflection and self improvement And because we consider leisure only a respite from work since free time doesn t pay, it is not for serious exertion we do not even use what moments we have to achieve perspective and to develop our latent potential.Again, Thoreau s prescription for excessive work to squat on someone else s land and farm only the bare minimum is disappointing and pardon the pun unworkable And his advice for how to spend one s free time reading ancient books in the original language is, at the very least, limited But once again, his thrashing responses at least point the way to the malady that ails us, and his deadly seriousness can remind us to take our free time seriously and not squander it.Thoreau is perhaps most valuable for his insistence on the time and space to think Often it seems that the modern world is a conspiracy to prevent thinking We work until we re bone tired, and spend our free time in endless, meaningless small talk Thoreau saidWe are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicateImagine if Thoreau could see us now, ceaselessly connected to each other with mobile telegraphs in our pockets, with scarcely anything to say The point, of course, is not that the telegraph is inherently bad nor are smart phones for that matter but that these things can easily become distractions, distractions in the existential sense, allowing idle chit chat to intrude into every corner of our lives News also comes in for abuse Too often we read the news, not with a genuine desire to learn about the world or to help us change it, but out of habit, worrying about distant problems that seldom affect us and that, in any case, we seldom try to solve Sure, it is easy to dismiss Thoreau when he makes such dogmatic pronouncements asTo a philosophers, all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their teaYet I know many for whom the news is an addiction, and consuming news is the full extent of their political engagement And I don t think I m any better in this regard Again, the point is not that we shouldn t read the news, but that we should not let ourselves develop a false sense of urgency that prevents us from examining our own lives.Thoreau demands space for genuine thought But what is genuine thought I think this is what Thoreau had in mind with his famous linesI 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 livedGenuine thought, in other words, is thinking about the best way to live what is deeply and lastingly important to us, and what is only temporarily or superficially important I personally have found that even a week of relative isolation can be clarifying It is amazing how fast anxieties and problems melt away when we remove ourselves from our usual environment We spend so much time worrying about how to get things that we don t stop to wonder if we really want them It is easy, too easy, to accept goals and priorities from our environment without scrutiny.I could go on, but I think you get the idea Thoreau was reacting against problems of the modern world, problems that have only become pervasive His solution, which I find extremely unconvincing, is to reject society completely and in practice, his solution is only viable for well connected, single men with no children Thoreau achieves a kind of purity at the expense of advocating something that is totally non viable for the vast majority of humanity But reading his book was, for me, a clarifying and a rejuvenating experience a reminder to consider the important questions of life, and also a reminder that these questions can perhaps never be definitely answered.You may disagree completely with me about the philosophical merit of Thoreau But his skill as a writer is indisputable This book is a magnificent monument of prose Whether he is describing his beloved pond or narrating a battle of ants, his writing is clear, forceful, and direct and his fingertips occasionally touch the sublime If you stand right fronting and face to face with a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a scimitar, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career Be it life or death, we crave only reality.Thoreau s power as a writer, combined with his undeniable originality anticipating all the things with which I opened this review, and will make this book last until Thoreau s next centennial, even if sometimes he s an insufferable teenager. Henry David Thoreau is best known as an American writer and transcendentalist who wanted first hand to experience intuitively and understand profoundly the rapport between man and nature In a sense Thoreau is Adam after the Fall living East of Eden as a bachelor in a humble cabin built beside Walden Pond by his own hands with tools borrowed from Concord neighbors and sustained by the fruits of a bean field sown in his garden and with resources granted to him by the wilderness He wants to transcend inauthentic, everyday life in Concord and awaken his over soul to the beauty and harmony of life by living mindfully in every moment in the subtly beckoning arms of the woods, ponds, rivers, seacoast and mountains of New England 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, Thoreau writes in Walden in Where I Lived, and What I Lived For This deliberate action to immerse himself in nature would pulsate with a circadian rhythm throughout his brief, vibrant life as he canoed the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, walked the beaches of Cape Cod and traveled in the wilds of Maine with Native American guides Thoreau studied at Harvard College between 1833 and 1837 Living in Hollis Hall, he read rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics and science, and became a member of the Hasty Pudding Club With his brother, John, they opened a grammar school in 1838 in Concord Academy but their school ended when John became fatally ill from tetanus in 1842 after cutting himself while shaving John died in Henry s arms In Concord he met Ralph Waldo Emerson, who took a paternal interest in Thoreau and introduced him to local writers like Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Ellery Channing and his future literary representative, Horace Greeley On April 30, 1844 he and his friend, Edward Hoar, accidentally set a fire that consumed 300 acres of Walden Woods between Fair Haven Bay and Concord After fishing they built a fire in a tree stump near the pond to make chowder Amid brisk winds in near drought conditions, the fire spread from the stump into dry grass When the fire reached the trees, Henry ran through the woods ahead of the flames, encountering an owner of the blazing woods Atop Fair Haven Hill he watched aghast as the old forest of pine, birch, alders, oaks, and maples spread through the drought stricken woods With Concord at risk the fire burned for a day until volunteers subdued it In March 1845 Ellery Channing told a restless Thoreau, Go out, build yourself a hut, there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive I see no other alternative, no other hope for you Thus, Thoreau embarked on a two year experiment in living simply on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a modest cabin that he constructed on 14 acres of land owned by Emerson on the shores of Walden Pond As a prot g of Emerson, Thoreau transformed into a supremely self reliant individual, which is a core value of transcendentalism Transcendentalists hold that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or overcomes, the physical and empirical world around us and that one achieves insight through personal intuition Nature is the outward manifestation of one s over soul by expressing the radical correspondence of visible things and human thoughts, as Emerson wrote in Nature in 1836 At Walden, Thoreau seeks a deep dive into the over soul like a wood duck on a tranquil pond at dawn and he finds the engine of this crossing over into a transcendent understanding of life by his immersive communion with nature in all of its pure manifestations In solitude Thoreau distances himself from others, not only by a few miles of geography to the pristine purity of the water of Walden Pond, but also by a worldview intent upon surveying the botany of the Garden undistracted by the common, quotidian pursuits of his Concord neighbors I love to be alone I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude, he writes As he confronts his most basic need for shelter in the woods, he writes, Before winter, I built a chimney He borrows an axe from a neighbor but returns it sharper than he received it In Higher Laws he poses the central existential question to his Concord neighbors to which Walden is his answer Why do you stay here and live this moiling life, when a glorious existence is possible for you Walden is not for everyone This is why it is so accurately and justifiably cherished by its admirers, and so ridiculously and criminally misunderstood by its detractors The critics of Walden levy ad hominem after ad hominem against Thoreau, as if the utmost specifics of his experience detract from the purported arguments he puts forth about the absolute means everyone must live their lives Clearly his meditations on cherishing solitude are false, because he did enjoy company every now and then clearly he wasn t truly cut loose into the wilderness, as he had a safety net accurately called Emerson s backyard Walden is much simpler than that It is not gonzo journalism it is not stunt non fiction It is not proto Krakauer hullabaloo All it is, plain and simple, is intellectual pursuit This does not engage some people It s introspective, thoughtful, and focused, which generally means it goes unread and derided by people who only have a cursory knowledge of the tale passed down generation by generation of mouth breathing hill people in a tragic game of literary telephone.But beyond the beautiful imagery and sophisticated metaphor and all those enchanted little things lies this notion of mindfulness Thoreau succeeded in fulfilling this need to be surrounded by that which will keep one s mind alert Thoreau ultimately needed an environment that broke the barriers of habit and allowed for his mind to enter a state of stimulated, unfettered wakefulness These things tend to atrophy without ready labor or measured gratification Perhaps this is why I thought Walden so satisfying it succeeds greatly as a treatise on depression Whether or not it is Thoreau s intent is debatable, but my reading experience was enriched by how entrenched my sorrow is in habitual alienation and a constant sense of insufficient physical and mental exertion Where is the product to which I am lending my services How do I train myself to make a white fluorescent wall endlessly stimulating Walden expanded several of my hypotheses with regard to depression in a positive way it gave breadth to the soul searching I regularly perform to monitor and assess my own sadness The opportunities for expanding perspective and allowing for growth are multiple in Walden, and I admire a book for presenting those opportunities One of the ways it did that was to espouse solitude, embrace simplicity, and not necessarily champion self reliance, but find simpler yet deeper means of satisfaction in antiquated notions of economy Surely his devices will not work for everyone, but seeing his own efforts manifest themselves, by making something tangible and note worthy, and lending himself over to the power of observation are all things I truly envied in him The barriers that perhaps routine, modern gratitude, and an alarming sense of inter dependence can place on happiness are almost too palpable now, and sadly, the means to attain Thoreau s level of immersion are almost lost I do not think there is wilderness to speak of any Perhaps depression is a means of my brain to beg me to lock into a long term, serious, substantial issue, and solve it to the betterment of my own health and to the contentment of others depression is certainly a means to enter a ruminative cycle of focused thought Could that cycle be liberated if I found myself doing that serious, substantive work Could it be liberated by finding the degree of stimulation Thoreau discovered in a nearly constant stream of unfiltered newness Enough about that Thoreau is a romantic, and I don t believe so much that Walden is meant to be taken as a how to gospel or even a polemic It is a personal experience captured, a journey taken and a journey ultimately discovered There is little reason for it to be taken as than that, and, as such, it is rife with beautifully crafted aphorisms, insights that could benefit you depending on who you are, and it is wall to wall equipped with very helpful and comforting insights to those of us struggling to make ways in the world as it stands now It s a mental journey that can cure what ails you, if you re the kind of person for it, and believe me, my copy is riddled with underlines, and its margins covered with ink This book was the perfect recommendation for myself As a side note, I am only rating Walden, and am not incorporating the essay Civil Disobedience into this evaluation, which I have disregarded if only to emphasize that part of the text which I consider essential. So as part of my reading challenge for this year mislabeled as being done in 2016, not 2017 , I m re reading books everyone loves everyone being just a general consensus, not literally everyone and which I hated didn t like was unmoved the first time I read it This March s book was Walden 1 I don t know when I first read this I think it was in Grad School 1.0, but it might have been as an Undergrad 2.0 No idea 2 Shameful admission, I don t think I ever read the entire book the first time Which makes me think it was part of a survey class required of everyone in my department in Grad School My guess is I was required to read the long first chapter which happened to be the only chapter marked up at all in my copy with notes and underlines , along with a couple of Emerson Essays and Schopenhauer as Educator by Nietzsche in the week on Transcendental philosophy or thought This makes sense in a way because my previous review which is one of my popular ones I have ever written at a whopping two lines made a note of him living in his backyard This isn t mentioned in the book itself and seems like the sort of fact that the cynical professor I had for this class would have said and imprinted on my brain But it s also the sort of thing that a snarky professor I had in undergrad might have said, and I could see this book being used in the Philosophy of Utopias and Dystopias class he taught 3 I found that I generally agree with Thoreau on things than I thought I would I m not sure why my younger self didn t like this than he did Oh wait, I do know why, and that is4 I don t like Thoreau As a person, I imagine wanting to punch Thoreau in the face I m sure my college self saw him as an old timey version of the hippies Deadheads Phish fans he went to school with and hated hated hated Thoreau comes across as a fairly smug self important twit Everytime, I would find myself agreeing with him and finding myself enjoying the book he would go off on some tangent or write something that came across as insufferable 5 I think I liked this book than when I first read it or at least read the first chapter which in fairness is the meatiest part of the book , but I m still placing it in the three star area I used to hate when people said this kind of thing about books, so I feel like a dick for saying it, but it was too long There were parts that just went on and on way too much Since it s a classic and beloved by people I have to admit that the book must resonate with people, but I still feel like it could have been powerful in its message if it had been honed down a bit I should have written this while the book was fresher in my mind I m sorta glad I re read it I definitely appreciate it than I did, but I still don t love it It did make me want to try reading some Emerson again, and if I can figure out where in my stacks of books my copy of his complete essays is I ll probably givem them a read in the near future. A naturalist, a transcendentalist or an individualist Thoreau s principles could be labelled with the previous statutory concepts and yet none of them would suffice to provide a full description of him He struck me as a man who didn t want to be restricted by category he chose experience and common sense as modus operandi to lead a deliberate lifestyle and to reach his own conclusions without meaning to inculcate them on others Walden is the result of Thoreau s minute observations that he compiled while he lived in a rustic shed near a lake in Concort, Massachusets Full of all kind of practical detail, the book is than a diary but less than a philosophical abstraction It arises as a fragmented tapestry of the meditations of a man concerned about his surroundings and the society to which he belongs, even if he makes a conscious effort to disentangle from his contemporary fellowmen in order to think straight, in order to stablish priorities without the social distractions attached to community living.The idea that shines brighter in Thoreau s discourse is that actions should be faithful mirrors of belief, so he decided to act consequently and he cut back comfort to be in charge of his simple, frugal life Man lives in constant stimulation to consume above his real needs according to a general interest that doesn t necessarily correlate to his own It s important not to mistake Thoreau s aversion to frivolity with unfounded rejection of modernity or technological progress by default He professes that man can achieve spiritual and physical serenity by contemplation of the natural world, and redefine the notion of welfare, which shouldn t imply accumulating wealth, but rather making use of it only when it is required Austerity, self reliance and a clearly defined frame of values are essential to write one s destiny without giving way to external pressures Thoreau s original experiment doesn t aspire to preach or to impose a guideline to create a following Instead, it invites to reflect about the principles that rule our lives and question whether we are investing our limited time on what is really essential.Far from being a grumpy hermit, Thoreau sings the praises of a good conversation and basks in the company of those with inquisitive minds, dismissing the lulling tonality of generalized academic discourse Poet, philosopher and fisherman share equal positions in Thoreau s mental horizon because they all have a close relationship with nature and they don t take its precious gifts for granted Walden is in fact a hymn to the natural rhythms and seasons, to the trees and vegetation that blooms and decays in perfect communion with the birds and fauna that populate the wilderness The pond is the ever present witness to Thoreau s unusual moral firmness, to the authenticity of his resolutions, and sometimes overwhelming culture that is exquisitely balanced out with his surprising sensitivity Ice melting into transparent blue water that later acquires a greenish tint when the spring sun hauls the earth finds the ideal recipient in Thoreau s ideals of justice and beauty Personally, I might not fully agree with everything that Thoreau exposes in this work, his reasoning might end up being repetitive and it runs the risk of sounding a bit like postulating, but I can t help but admire the man who knew how to include as much poetry in his life as life in literature and inspire future generations to fight for what they believe is right. I listened to the audiobook of this and unfortunately the narrator made it somewhat unbearable to listen to, but I did complete both Walden and the essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience I found Walden to be a pleasant telling of Thoreau s departure from society and living freely in the woods of MA I enjoyed his philosophies with one in particular where one can live easier, less stressed and freer when one has less to procure or work for Civil Disobedience was a bit fascinating and quite relevant due to our current political climate I am happy to have completed this classic I am looking forward to a great dialog with my middle son the transcendentalist.