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Thoreau Says “Simplify, Simplify.” Maybe We Need to Do That

Both Thoreau and Emerson are strong advocates of independence, and certainly against society, as one attempted to escape it entirely, and the other wrote an essay on how government should be as small as possible. The main point of the first section is to provide background on what he had been doing, and show what he did. The point of the conclusion was to show what he learned from that.

Personally, I do not think I could live alone in the woods for an extended period. If I were trained to be able to survive and make my own food and do such things, perhaps I could survive, but even so, I would need company. I love my alone time dearly, but there are some people I simply could not bear not talking to for an extended period. Now, if those people were with me (and that aforementioned survival training existed), I could do it with no trouble. I only use my phone to waste time or talk to people, so I would not miss my phone. I am not attached to much in terms of material things of the world, aside from books, which I feel I could take with me in this situation. While I would likely miss video games, LEGO, and my numerous other hobbies, they would not be a devastating loss. The real reason I could not do this is the people. To clarify, I mean specific people, specific friends and family who I simply would not be able to deal with not communicating with for an extended period. Human interaction, to me, is something I prefer to only do with certain people, if I can. I do not dislike people, of course, and I am certainly not rude, but meeting new people has never been my idea of a good time, and now even less so that before.

I like the idea of keeping my life simple, without too many stress inducing factors, as Thoreau suggests, and I think that should be taken to heart by the people of the modern world. We take too much time on complicated matters that could, and should be simplified.

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