Walden and Civil Disobedience (New American Library, 1999)

Thursday, July 10, 2008



Frankly, Walden has it's share of verbal diarrhea and underdeveloped thought, but the overall message of voluntarily simplicity, limited state power and the benefits of solitude is one of the most powerful in the English language. As an added bonus, Civil Disobedience can be said to be the original inspiration of nonviolent resistance movements and is also a must read.

Posted by St. Drogo at 3:29 PM  

13 comments:

P. 1 - "When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

P. 10 - "None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty. Of a life of luxury the fruit is luxury, whether in agriculture, or commerce, or literature, or art. There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, or even found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life not only theoretically, but practically."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

P. 27 - "I refer to the degraded poor, not now to the degraded rich. To know this I should not need to look farther than to the shanties which everywhere border our railroads ... Such too, to a greater or less extent, is the condition of the operatives of every denomination in England, which is the great workhouse of the world. Or I could refer you to Ireland, which is marked as one of the white or enlightened spots on the map. Contrast the physical condition of the Irish with that of the North American Indian, or the South Sea Islander, or any other savage race before it was degraded by contact with the civilized man."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

P. 56 - "In short, I am convinced, by both faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime ... It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

P. 100 - "I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 108 - "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. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers ... Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 255 - "It is said that Mirabeau took to highway robbery "to ascertain what degree of resolution was necessary in order to place one's self in opposition to the most sacred laws of society." He declared that "a soldier who fights in the ranks does not require half so much courage as a foot-pad," - "that honor and religion have never stood in the way of a well-considered and firm resolve." ... It is not for a man to put himself in such an attitude to society, but to maintain himself in whatever attitude he find himself through obedience to the laws of his being, which will never be one of opposition to a just government, if he should chance to meet with such."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 265 - "I heartily accept the motto - 'That government is best which governs least;' and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this - 'That government is best which governs not at all;" and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 268 - "How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 273 - "Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 273-274 "If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth ... but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, beak the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 277-278 "It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself, always tucked up and ready for a start, and not have many affairs."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

P. 287 "The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual ... Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened state, until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."

St. Drogo said...
July 12, 2008 at 1:30 PM  

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