A Compelling Call to Simple Living

Posted: July 6, 2012 in Book Review, Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Society, Solitude
Tags: , ,

‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life . . . and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived’.

The American Henry David Thoreau was nothing if not talented in a plethora of different fields; he made his mark as an author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist.

Where I Lived and What I Lived For‘ is a delightful account of Thoreau’s largely solitary life and self-sufficient existence in the woods of New England. As a forerunner to the modern environmental movement, Thoreau is a passionate and persuasive advocate for ‘simple living’ lived out in a manner that recognises the inter-connectedness of all creation.

Thoreau’s call for humanity to abandon endlessly striving, materialistic existences of ‘quiet desperation’ is a relevant today as it has ever been.  His vision of a simple existence contains within it an appreciation of the beauty of nature and a spiritual dimension which is both powerful and compelling.

Where I Lived and What I Lived For‘ is accessible to first-time readers of Thoreau and contains many of his ideas that are  further developed in later publications.

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