Tag Archives: thoreau

Top Ten Quotes from “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

#1 – “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

#2 – “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

#3 – “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.”

#4 – “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

#5 – “We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

#6 – “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

#7 – “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

#8 – “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

#9 – “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

#10 – “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of Walden by Henry David Thoreau

By: Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Literary Scholar/Simian Poop Flinger

shutterstock_282195503

Good morrow, 3.5 readers.

My word, it has been ages since I have thrown anything at you, be it literary wisdom, fecal matter, or otherwise.

I have been so busy with life that I simply forgot this blog existed. (This is an easy feat seeing as it only has 3.5 readers.)

Ahh, how fortuitous that I should mention the hustle and bustle of life when the author I wish to discuss today gave up the turmoil of civilization to live a scant existence in the woods.

In the mid-1850s, Henry David Thoreau transported himself to Walden Pond in order to scale back his life and live in the woods.

Thoreau explained it best and I cannot do any better than he:

“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 practice 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.”

Oh life, how quickly you move. Why, 1980s scholar Ferris Bueller famously opined that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop once in awhile, you might miss it.”

But long before Ferris, Thoreau was even able to grasp that mankind was so wrapped up in the day to day grind of life that few ever stopped to enjoy life itself.

Observe Thoreau’s true passion for mortality here. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Imagine life as a juicy steak. Thoreau loved his life steak so much that eating the meat wasn’t enough. He wanted to suck on the bones and get the little bit of sustenance inside of them as well.

Oh, 3.5 readers. We are all guilty of not appreciating life, aren’t we?

Yes, we have so many hopes and dreams and then before you know it you’re a middle-aged chimpanzee teaching at night classes for imbeciles at a community college and spending your free time writing columns for addle brained readers of WordPress book blogs that rarely, if ever, feature a book review.

Not you guys. You guys are great.

WHAT IF LIFE IS TOO HARD?

Millennials, I hate to pile on to the abuse you take from society, but yes, with your “safe spaces” and your “trigger warnings” and your overall attempts to baby proof your entire lives, you truly are the worst.

You may be inclined to think that if your life is difficult then it should provide you little enjoyment. Thus, you shouldn’t be bothered seeking any.

Wrong! Thoreau tells us:

“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, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

You only get one life, 3.5 readers. After that, it is kaputsville. Would you rather spend that life in a French villa surrounded by super models?  I wouldn’t it. They’re not very hairy and they never enjoy a good poop fling.

But perhaps that sounds interesting to you human weirdoes.

Ultimately, just as Thoreau points out, the sun shines on a poor house just as it does as a rich one. Even in your darkest times and lowliest hours, happiness can be found.

Are you experiencing as much happiness as you’d like? No. Does that mean you should just forego happiness then? Of course not. Why does everyone have this ridiculous “all or nothing” attitude?

3.5 readers, I confess even during that very depressing time period I spent trapped in a cage as one of Dr. Hugo Von Science’s lab chimps, I would still find the time to cheer myself up by throwing a turd nugget at the good doctor’s head.

He would then attach electrodes to my cranium and zap me with thousands of volts but it was worth it.

Ahh, good times. “Memories, like the corners of my mind,” as Babs Streisand would say.

3.5 readers, I see the curtain being pulled on my lecture here, so allow me to leave you with a final question:

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ONE TO ACHIEVE HIS/HER DREAMS THROUGH HARD WORK?

It is difficult to say.  Many have given their dreams their all and come up with nothing but poop in their hands. (Never a better time to become a poop flinger I say.)

Others have given their dreams little effort.  Hell, that sexy human you just saw in a movie probably got her start by walking around looking hot and some Hollywood agent casted her.

All I can do is speak from experience.

As I wasted away in that lab cage, I dreamed of becoming a world renowned literary scholar.

And so I worked.  And I studied. And I posed as a tiny man with a hairy overgrowth problem until I was hired to be a renowned literary professor.

And then I allowed myself to become associated with this foolish blog.  So discredited was I that it is now community college for me forever.

Sigh. Community college.  Don’t get me started.

I can’t answer the inquiry.  But here’s what Thoreau said on the matter:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

If you put hard work into your dreams, are they achievable 3.5 readers?

What say you?

Fling your poop in the comments.

Class dismissed.

Tagged , , , , , ,
Advertisements