Henry David Thoreau And Individualism

744 Words3 Pages
A significant philosopher of the pre-Civil War era of the United States, Henry David Thoreau appeared to be above the standard with his philosophically driven life style. He wrote detailed accounts of his life in his book titled Walden, in which he expressed his desire to escape the confining pressures of human society. His second chapter lauded the concepts of individualism and self-sufficiency, yet he never took into account the potential harm of his mentality, for it could hurt individuals as well as communities, and modern life simply cannot support his ideals. To begin, the main points of Thoreau’s essay must be analysed. Thoreau began by advocating a life that is simple and slow. This is summarized by the phrase from his book, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.” A philosophy such as this may be appealing, especially when one is overwhelmed by the problems presented by society. However, maintaining this simplicity in a community context requires ignorance of the needs and wants of other people. Many of society’s complicated demands, such as tax payment and jury duty, are necessary for the betterment of other citizen’s lives. In his essay, Thoreau dismissed the importance of community problems by claiming that they were a complete illusion, adding, “Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousands stitches today to save nine tomorrow. As for work, we haven’t any of any
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