by Henry David Thoreau
Walden Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Essay.Paragraph)
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. (Economy.6)
Thoreau wants his readers to reconsider what freedom and liberty really mean. Surely working day in and day out doesn't qualify. We need to wake up and take advantage of the privileges we have as Americans.
Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? (Economy.14)
Our author celebrates different lifestyles, and thinks that conformity is positively unnatural. He would definitely not be a fan of peer pressure.
By the words, necessary of life, I mean whatever, of all that man obtains by his own exertions, he has been from the first, or from long use has become, so important to human life that few, if any, whether from savageness, or poverty, or philosophy, ever attempt to do without it. (Economy.17)
It's kind of a long definition of "necessary," but Thoreau has to be this precise for an audience that's lost touch with what necessity really is. For us, the necessaries in life might be family, friends, and a WiFi connection. For Thoreau, it's food, shelter, clothing, and fuel.