Walden is, among other things, a book about time. According to Thoreau, time has been hijacked by modernity, where technological advances such as the railroad and the telegraph have sped up life at an inhuman rate. But, from our author's perspective, we've gotten to a point where these technologies are no longer tools. Instead of us running the machines, the machines are running us. No matter how hard we work, we can never keep pace, let alone pause to think about what we're doing. (Yikes – we wonder what Thoreau would think about, um, the Internet?)
Thoreau wants us all to slow down and reconnect with real time, Nature's time. By slowing down, we give ourselves some space to think about our values and the direction this fast-paced life is taking us. (This is advice Shmoop thinks could be useful to just about everyone.) Like John Connor, Thoreau wants to take the future back from the machines and return it to human hands.
Thoreau rails against the dehumanizing effects of technology. No good can come of modernization.
In Walden, Thoreau immerses himself in the time of nature, which is governed by the eternal cycle of the seasons.