Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12th, 1817 and lived until he was 45. He was many things: a poet, abolitionist, naturalist, philosopher, transcendentalist, and author. He could very well be called the "The Father of Simple Living".
The HDT 5
1. His real name was David Henry Thoreau.
2. Thoreau attended Harvard University. When he graduated with his Masters degree it is said that he refused to pay the five dollars in order to receive his diploma.
3. His family owned a pencil factory. He worked there for most of his life. He was responsible for furthering the use of graphite in pencil construction rather than lead.
4. In July of 1845 he began is simple living adventure on the banks of Walden Pond to live a simple and focused life. From this comes one of my favorite books, "Walden". A book which everyone could benefit from reading in today's fast paced rat race. John Updike said, "A century and a half after it's publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back to nature, preservationist, -business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the bible."
5. He accepted his impending death in a peaceful manner. Some of his last words were "Now comes good sailing". Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the eulogy for his funeral. Thoreau's ideas and passion are celebrated and kept alive by the international Thoreau Society.
It is my belief that simple, uncluttered, minimalist living movement's of today are a direct throwback to Thoreau's way of thinking. Now, more than ever, we need to keep these ideas alive. It's not just our peace of mind that is at stake, these days it our and planet and mere existence. How many people do you know that actually give birth to their own thoughts and then do something with the life of them?
When we plop ourselves in front the television letting others telling us what to do, what to think, what to eat, and who to believe we lose ourselves. Thoreau stood for something. Even if you don't share all of his beliefs you can still share the notion of learning, thinking, and that actually doing something about it. Have we all become the end product of the spin generation machine?
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" -Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau Resources
Read Walden For Free
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
Summer Rain by Henry David Thoreau
The Disarming Honesty of Henry David Thoreau
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