Thoreau the Introvert

One cannot read Walden and be in doubt that its author is a true introvert.
Alone much of the time in his small, secluded cottage, Henry David Thoreau used his distance from society to engage in contemplation concerning the nature and purpose of society itself.

It sends a thrill through me to read passages such as:
-”In a savage state every family owns a shelter as good as the best … In modern civilized society not more than one half the families own a shelter.”
-”Men have become tools of their tools”
-”I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

It is precisely this sort of thought that escapes those who live on the microscale.

He seems to anticipate modern mass media and its saturation with trivial information when he comments:

“We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.”

Thoreau is an introvert who understands the shallowness of a Loud culture striving away only to sustain itself:
He believed that most modern developments are
“But improved means to an unimproved end.”

One can see from Thoreau’s writings how his 19th century America was the clear and logical ancestor of the present day America.

Thoreau’s life is an example of how it is the calling of the introvert to live on the macroscale and to reduce gigantic problems to essentials.
He is an example of how Subtle thought has existed across generations and how such thought by its nature seeks to assign a greater meaning to the human experience and a greater dignity to the individual.

Zygmunt blogs on matters of introversion at Kingdom of Introversion.

Thoreau the Introvert appears here by permission.

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on 03/7/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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