Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau - Walden and Civil Disobedience -I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbours up.

Philosophy - Famous Philosopher - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Discussion of Quotes / Quotations from Civil Disobedience & Walden
Pictures, Biography

Simplify, Simplify.
... Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

... To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.
(Thoreau, Walden, 1854)


Introduction - Henry David Thoreau Biography - Quotes Walden - Civil Disobedience Quotations - Links - Top of Page

Introduction

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could 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.
(Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching
of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature. (Thoreau)

Thoreau's Natural / Transcendental Philosophy

About fifteen years ago (early 1990s - when I was young and naive!) I read Thoreau's Walden, and to my great surprise the book profoundly affected me (and the future course of my life). At the time I was living in the city and it motivated me to move to the country and to live in Nature. I first moved to a small country town where I lived on an old cattle / sheep farm.

Sadly, over several years, I came to realise that Nature was being destroyed by Agriculture and the general overpopulation of our beautiful little planet. I became depressed by this realisation, but being a pragmatic man I realised that joining a 'green' group and saving a few trees was not really going to make much difference. Over several months I began to realise that the only solution for humanity was to understand the reality of what we were, what Nature was, and how we were interconnected and thus dependent upon Nature (for I believed that humanity would not knowingly destroy itself if it knew the truth and realised that we were a part of Nature and thus depended upon Nature for our survival).

This then led me to reading on Physics and Philosophy, and in particular Albert Einstein. And it was from reading Einstein (and Lorentz, Feynman) that I came to the conclusion that matter did not exists as discrete 'particles', but rather as Spherical Standing Waves in Space.

Now I appreciate that this will sound strange to many people who, like myself, were brought up with the particle conception of matter. This though is more of a reflection of the limitations of our minds and that new knowledge always seems a bit strange when first considered. Over the past ten years, since I first made this discovery, I have made the effort to read most of the great philosophers of history, believing that if I truly knew reality then I would be able to explain and solve their many problems. This website is the result of that study, and confirms that the Wave Structure of Matter does indeed explain and solve many of the problems of physics, philosophy and metaphysics very simply and sensibly.

And over that time the great philosophers of the past have become my best friends (yes it is a little odd that my best friends are dead philosophers!). And amongst them all I hold Henry David Thoreau with special affection. So I hope that you enjoy the following quotes and get a nice sense for his lovely morality, his love of Nature and Truth.

Geoff Haselhurst



Introduction - Henry David Thoreau Biography - Quotes Walden - Civil Disobedience Quotations - Links - Top of Page

Henry David Thoreau - Walden and Civil Disobedience - Simplify, Simplify. Henry David Thoreau Biography

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott.
Self described as 'a mystic, transcendentalist and natural philosopher to boot', Thoreau is known for his extreme individualism, his preference for simple, austere living and his revolt against the demands of society and government. The several years he spent in a homemade hut, writing and observing nature, resulted in Walden (1854). He was the author of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), Civil Disobedience (1849), Excursions (1863) and the Maine Woods (1864).
Thoreau
died in Concord, at the age of forty four in 1862.

(Introduction to Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, Penguin Classics 1986)


Introduction - Henry David Thoreau Biography - Quotes Walden - Civil Disobedience Quotations - Links - Top of Page

Henry David Thoreau - Walden and Civil Disobedience - 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. Walden Quotes by Thoreau

Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.

I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbours up.

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.

Every man is a builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead.

Why do you stay here and live this mean moiling life, when a glorious existence is possible for you?

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of rainbow which I have clutched.

I believe that water is the only drink for the wise man.

Grow wild according to thy nature ... Enjoy the land but own it not ..

I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops and every sound and sight around my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like an atmosphere sustaining me, as made the fancied advantages of human neighbourhood insignificant, and I have never thought of them since.

The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well nigh incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! How vigilant we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwittingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way we say; but there are many ways there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant. Confucius said, 'To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.' When one man has reduced a fact of the imagination to be a fact to his his understanding, I foresee that all men will at length establish their lives on this basis.

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meager life than the poor. ...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 in commerce, or literature, or art. There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet is admirable to to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live accordingly 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.
..What is the nature of luxury which enervates and destroys nations? Are we sure there is none in our lives? (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854)

The soil it appears, is suited to the seed, for it has sent its radicle downward, and it may now send its shoot upward also with confidence. Why has man rooted himself thus firmly into the earth, but that he may rise in the same proportions into the heavens above?

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavour to become one of the worthies of the world. (Thoreau, Walden, 1854)

I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.

The greater part of what my neighbours call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behaviour. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. (Thoreau, Walden, 1854)

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, Conclusion to Walden, 1854)

I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. (Thoreau, Conclusion to Walden, 1854)

Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. (Thoreau, Conclusion to Walden, 1854)


Introduction - Henry David Thoreau Biography - Quotes Walden - Civil Disobedience Quotations - Links - Top of Page

Henry David Thoreau - Walden and Civil Disobedience - 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. Quotations Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. (Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography)

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, 'That government is best which governs least' (Thoreau, Civil Disobedience)

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs.

How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also. (Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience)


Introduction - Henry David Thoreau Biography - Quotes Walden - Civil Disobedience Quotations - Links - Top of Page

Henry David Thoreau - Walden and Civil Disobedience - 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. Thoreau Links: Philosophy, Nature

Gandhi, Mohandas 'Mahatma' - On Civil Disobedience (as influenced by Henry David Thoreau) and the Path of Truth (Satyagraha - Truth Force, God is Truth). Information, Biography of Mohandas Gandhi.

Theology: Pantheism Philosophy - Spinoza realised that God, Nature and Reality are One and the Same thing. All is God, All is One, All is Space and Motion.

Evolution: Ecology: Nature - Ecological Interconnection and the Importance of Nature explained by Wave Structure of Matter. Life (and Humanity) evolved from Nature and depend upon Nature for Survival.

Evolution: Endangered Animals Species - Endangered Animals, Endangered Species. Humans are Endangered Species while Ignorant of Truth and Reality.

Evolution: Nature One Gaia Cosmos - WSM explains both Ecology of Matter in the Universe and the Ecology of Life on Earth (Gaia).

http://www.transcendentalists.com/1thorea.html - Directory to resources on Henry David Thoreau and his philosophy classics including Walden, Civil Disobedience.

http://www.ecotopia.org/ehof/thoreau/ - Ecology Hall of Fame - Thoreau earned his place in history and in The Ecology Hall of Fame on July 4, 1845, when he moved to Walden Pond, 'to live deliberately.' His time at Walden demonstrated the natural harmony that was possible when a thinking man went to live simply, reading books, writing in his diary, cultivating his beans, and walking in the woods. During his life, Thoreau was little known outside his small social and intellectual circle. Yet his reputation as a prophet for ecological thought and the value of wilderness, born at Walden, now grows with each passing year. He articulated the idea that humans are part of nature and that we function best, as individuals and societies, when we are conscious of that fact.





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Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

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