Blog 15: Contradictory Concepts


The reading of “Excerpts from Walden” was a fairly interesting time. It was complicated and difficult to understand, and so it required a large amount of thought and time to interpret.┬áThoreau and Emerson share two very similar, and large, ideals. They both believe society is but a hindrance to the nature of man, and they both believe that nature is how man achieves happiness and clarity. This can be seen in both works when Thoreau describes his reasons for moving to the woods and Emerson describes his experience as the “transparent eyeball” when visiting nature. We can also see the link between their beliefs regarding society when Thoreau abandons it in search of living life to it’s fullest, implying that society doesn’t let you do that. As well as when Emerson describes how society offers us consistency with regard to our needs, but sacrifices individualism and freedoms as a result. The main idea of the first portion of the excerpt “Where I lived and what I lived for”is that society creates consistency and breeds greed and a lack of appreciation for nature. It was also to express Thoreau’s discontent with his life in society, and how he wanted to move to nature so they could become isolated. In the conclusion, he is showing how humanity tends to follow the beaten path rather than create a new one. This implies we are naturally tend towards conformity. It also implies that success can be found if you confidently move in one direction. The benefits of performing this experiment would likely be to connect us more to nature, to understand why it is important to conserve it and why we need it to survive as a species. The largest things I would miss would be the ability to reach for a bottle of water whenever you are thirsty, or reach for a snack whenever you are hungry. The environment of instant gratification that is created by society today would be the thing this experiment is trying to show to us, and therefore would deprive us of such a luxury. For that reason along with the fact that I am not particularly fond of the amount or type of amenities in the woods I do not think I could complete this experiment. The largest thing a reader should take out of the excerpts we’ve read is that society is not something you deserve, it is not something you are entitled to, it is a luxury. Society is something that provides us with the consistency we need to support the amount of human life we have on this planet, but people must prepare. In the event said society were to collapse, how would Americans fare? Are we prepared to deal with something as catastrophic as the loss of something we weren’t truly entitled to? These are the questions I will leave the reader with, and the most important thing readers should take from these excerpts.

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