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Thoreau: Solitude Essay Example for Free
At the core of this elite system of education is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge. Everywhere in this system, at every age, you will find arrangements to place the child alone in an unguided setting with a problem to solve. Sometimes the problem is fraught with great risks, such as the problem of galloping a horse or making it jump, but that, of course, is a problem successfully solved by thousands of elite children before the age of ten. Can you imagine anyone who had mastered such a challenge ever lacking confidence in his ability to do anything? Sometimes the problem is the problem of mastering solitude, as Thoreau did at Walden Pond, or Einstein did in the Swiss customs house.
My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a movement—people with multitudes behind them, looking to them for direction. And when we think of solitude, we are apt to think of Thoreau, a man alone in the woods, keeping a journal and communing with nature in silence.
Solitude Thoreau Walden Free Essays
So why is reading books any better than reading tweets or wall posts? Well, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, you need to put down your book, if only to think about what you’re reading, what you think about what you’re reading. But a book has two advantages over a tweet. First, the person who wrote it thought about it a lot more carefully. The book is the result of his solitude, his attempt to think for himself.
Walden is a literary accident. It began as a ragbag of recycled talks, scrapped bits of essays, and a great deal of personal venting. Many passages seem addressed to an invisible companion. Midway through his pond sojourn, Thoreau spent a night in the Concord jail for refusing to pay a poll tax that funded, in his view, a pro-slavery war with Mexico. After someone (possibly an aunt) paid his fine, he went to climb mountains in Maine. Caught in a storm high on Mount Katahdin, he took shelter near a patch of burnt forest, where the sight of regenerating foliage filled him with wonder: “The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense!” Thoreau rarely used italics or exclamations, but in this passage from The Maine Woods, he needed half a dozen to accept loss and seize life. “Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?”
Rhetorical Analysis Of Solitude Of Walden Of Henry David Thoreau
In the first section of Walden entitled "Economy," Thoreau develops his ideas of living simply and deliberately. He believed that "it is best to want less," and that "there is no point of living if it is not deliberate." By living deliberately he meant giving each part of life attention, whather in observing humans or nature, and living during "all moments of life." He believed that humans had only four basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. The object of each of these necessities is to "conserve an individuals energy." He also believed that "gluttony is bad," and so we should "only content ourselves with possesions that we need." Thoreau focussed on living deliberately, and stated "to settle, and to feel reality in its fullness, is the point."
Many of the next sections of Walden focussed on the relationship between the mind and body. In the section "Solitude," he explained that "sensations exist within our mind even when our body senses them." Thoreau felt that physical closeness does not translate into mental closeness, or vice-versa. He claimes that "it is not the physical possesion of the physical acts that caused one to take possession of a place, but rather the mental acts." he believed that we are our minds, and that our bodies are not as important. In the section "Highes Laws," he stated that "to truly live is to truly be aware of all that we can do, and then to ue all parts of ourselves.
Thoreau finds companionship in solitude, he states "living in the midst of nature gives a man sufficient stimulation, leaving no feeling of lonesomeness" (86).
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