A blupete Essay

Where I Lived, and What I Lived for (Ch.2), Part 2 to blupete's Essay
"Thoughts On Thoreau And Walden"

The second chapter is a short but important chapter for it touches upon the core of Thoreau's philosophy. Thoreau's beaconlight: "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." This, he set out to prove for himself; he determined to test his philosophy, to live away from the crowd with as few possessions as he can possibly get away with. Thoreau answers the question as to why he went to the woods (and this sums up the chapter):

"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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy him forever.'
Still we live meanly, like ants; ... Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail."
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2011