Comments Tagged ‘question’

  • Where I Lived, And What I Lived For 13-23 (1 comment)

    • Comment by Abigail Henry on February 19, 2020

      [We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.]

      Here, Thoreau talks about his desire to live a more natural and spiritualistic way of life. To him, advancing oneself morally is more important than advancing technologically. I wonder what he would think of the scenarios given in Gleick’s The Information, in which people interweave technology into their daily lives to make things simpler (such as inventing the telegraph for easier and faster communication). For example, I wonder what he would think of social media today. It has been argued for a long time that social media can be detrimental to an individual’s mental health, although, I believe that when used consciously and purposefully, it can lead to this moral growth that Thoreau describes.

  • The Village (1 comment)

    • Comment by Emma Raupp on March 9, 2020

      “It is true, I might have resisted forcibly with more or less effect, might have run ‘amok’ against society; but I preferred that society should run ‘amok’ against me, it being the desperate party” 

      How is society a “desperate party”? In the last few sections, Thoreau uses the word “desperate” to describe the reckless nature of some men and their society. “Desperate” is rather vague, but some synonyms I find especially applicable to Thoreau’s meaning of the word are “hasty”, “rash”, “desirous”, and “demoralized.” Thoreau’s fellow man seemed to lack the deliberation with which he led his life; instead, their lives are governed by rash decisions based on wayward desires, grounded in no certain morality. The list of synonyms marches on to include “lawless”, “violent”, and “resigned.” Thoreau knew the weight of the word he was using, and that weight has only increased over the years. With concern, Thoreau indicates how  society seems ever more resigned to desperation rather than deliberation.

      In the quote above, Thoreau re-iterates his civil disobedience. Rather than ‘running amok’ against society by evading the law, he calmly accepts his charge and does time in jail. He allows society, that desperate party, to run amok against him. I take this to mean he threw himself with some faith into that jail cell, figuring all the while that ‘society’ would do its utmost to keep him there. It seems he accepted this as a possibility, but kept faith that his fate would never be decided by desperate men and their “dirty institutions.” He was right, but the same cannot be said for many people in America today. Unfortunately, a country led by desperate men sows desperation among its citizens. “Dirty institutions” regularly decide the fate of our country, and by extension, the fate of our people, disparaging some and wildly benefitting others. How much longer can we trust society to “run amok” against us, fairly? How long before our best option may be to run amok against society ourselves?

Source: https://commons.digitalthoreau.org/walden/comments/tags/question/