Walden by Henry David Thoreau


Its been a while since I posted something and it is definitely not because of a lack of interesting things to write about. The pace of my life is increasing and exciting things are happening all the time! In the midst of all this it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time to indulge my oldest passion, reading books.

I heard about this book while reading about Christopher Mc Candless a.k.a Super Tramp on whose life and death, the movie Into the Wild is based. The book describes the author’s experience with staying in the woods, relatively insulated from civilization and people, fending for himself and living by the barest means possible. It was a book which deeply resonated with me.

Living in the wild with little separating us from the elements which shaped and sculpted us. Without all the ceremony, pomp and wasteful superficiality of society. Time that would have been wasted on going through the tedium of the every day life of an average guy devoted to study of books, nature and self.

The whole book actually poses just a very simple question. What is it that you really want from this life? Are all the things that you are doing right now really helping you achieve those aims? Aren’t we a little too distracted by the toys and trinkets that society dangles in our faces to realize that the price being paid for them is the pursuit of a deeper and more self-contained contentment? Do we attach enough value to self-cultivation and independent thought?

There is one whole chapter dedicated to Solitude and I simply adored it! When we are among friends or in a crowd we tend to think and act in a particular way. But, those same guys when left alone tend to become altogether different people. I have always thought that one must not restrict oneself to only one mode of thinking.

On the whole I found the book to be highly stimulating and thought-provoking. Also, the language of the book creates a strong impression of scholarship and erudition. This is not at all surprising considering the deep and varied reading of the author.

Of course, I did not completely agree with all the things in the book. But, I could see that the truth of the writing depended on the person reading it.

I am someone who believes that we as a species and as members of a terrifyingly lonely system of life in this vast universe have a duty to dream big and work towards a greater destiny than simple self-satisfaction and inward reflection. We need to work as a team for a future that will thank us for our efforts. I started getting these ideas after reading more books on popular science, especially those by Carl Sagan. What is the approach that most makes sense? Feel free to share your thoughts here!

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