What Do You Need To Live
Excerpt From: Fitzsimmons, John. “Fitz's Abreviated Walden 1-4.” iBooks.
What Do You Need To Live
“Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have”
Excerpt From: Fitzsimmons, John. “Fitz's Abreviated Walden 1-4.” iBooks.
What do you really need, to live a good life. In Thoreau's Walden, Thoreau advises us to only use the things in life that we really need. A lot of people live life trying to get what they want, not what they really need. They are working like machines in jobs that they hate, trying to get things that they want, not what they really need to live.Thoreau tells us to not let our jobs restrict us; he tells us to do what we love, not what we think we have to do. Also he shows us, what we really need to live. In Walden, Thoreau talks about how people focus more relying on objects rather than themselves to live a good life. If they work hard enough in a job they don't like, and earn the money that they do not truly need. Then, they can buy objects that they think that they can rely on to be happy. But in reality most of those objects aren't really going to help you live. “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” Excerpt From: "Economy", Walden. Many of the things that you truly need to live, can come free with some work, your hands can do as much work as that new wrench that you just bought. Your old axe can still work the same, if not better than the new one that you just got, your feet can carry you many more miles because you don't need to pay to put gas into them. What Thoreau was speculating on in the small section of economy was how we shouldn't really focus on being happy with all the objects that we posses, but more on living a simpler life so that we can enjoy the life that we are living, and the world that we are in.
Here is the first video of one of the Harkness discussions that Fitz english class section one had. The film was shot before the pad casters came so it might be a bit shaky at times. Also Fitz's iPad ran out of space a little bit into the video so it stops short. In this video the class discusses the first chapter of Thoreau's Walden, Economy. Pleas excuse the poor audio quality I am trying to fix it but for now, enjoy.
It was a cold autumn morning, I ripped open the shades in my room, only to see what a beautiful day it was. This was the day, what I went with my Fenn senior class, to walden pond. I remember waking up and not knowing wether or not we were allowed to break dress cod or not, I played it safe, and just went in the normal Fenn school attire. When I final,y got to school, after what seemed like a long bus ride, we prepared to take off for walden pond. The drive was incredibly short and fun, listening to county music with Trotsky the whole time. When we finally got there we checked out the replica cabin of Thoreau's cabin, and I have to say, it was quite small. We then traveled down to the pond itself taking pictures of the beautiful views and scenes. We then went off and wrote for a bit. This time had to of been the most peaceful writing time of my life, the silence with an occasional breeze and the small splashes of stones being skipped in the distance, the sun glimmering down on the glass like water because it was in the mist of changing from a land to sea breeze. That glass like water would constantly be broken by the more than occasional stone. But, it was one of the most peaceful places if ever been.
It was quite warm for an autumn morning, but the water was not. When we finally reached the cove in which Thoreau had lived, a couple of us boys decided that it was only right to take a little dip. It started out with only about four of us, only one had a bathing suit, then more people started to follow and swim. I remember swimming to the other side and bake, the cold water was one of the more soothing and enlightening things I have ever felt. Swimming is something I have always had a passion for wether it being mildly competitive or just for leisure, I've always just enjoyed the feeling, and especially when I'm under water, holding my breath, with no sound, just my thoughts. Swimming has been something that just relaxes me. This reminded me how at camp, I would wake up early every morning timing it so when the water was glass like, and some friends and I would swim across the lake and back. When we finish swimming, we are more refreshed than ever, we were ready to take the day on. Unfortunately for me at walden though, I did not have a bathing suit, so I had to strip down to my boxers like many other kids so I could swim. But, you adapt to the cold water, then when you get out, you are even colder which is a pain, but then after a couple minutes of sharing one towel for ten boys you dried off, got dressed again, and went back to your peaceful journey of enjoying the beauty of walden pond.
We then finished walking around and visited Thoreau's burial site and the place where he was born, but neither was as enjoyable as the pond itself. We did not take the traditional rout of going around the pond, we we t around the waters edge for the most of it, then we went on our own through the woods if we chose too. The thing that was so great about the pond is that it had something special for everybody, wether it was a place to relax and collect, swim, skip stones write, or in Trotsky's case and many others case, to fish. It had something that was appealing to everybody something for them that was simple but also very enjoyable. There are very few other places like it that I know of, where you have everything that you need just to be happy.
I can see why Thoreau would want to stay at walden. Just the sheer beauty of the pond itself is enough to put people who visit it in awe and silence. If Thoreau was not at walden pond, I do not believe that he would not be as successful as he was. Walden truly has, absolutely everything you need to live, it has the water, the wildlife, the commute with it being right next to the train tracks which used to be a road into town. It was truly amazing just visiting there and its funny because its something that I have driven by almost every day of my life for the past five or six years. The spot where Thoreau pick to build his house was just right, in the way how the sun struck that little cove every day.
I have driven by walden pond almost ever day for the past five to six years in my life; I have walked around it once or twice as well, and it is a shame that I have not realized the shear beauty of it until now. When I was a little kid walking around it I would just enjoy the walk not everything else, now that I am older, my perspective has changed and I have been able to see all the little things of what is so great about this pond. What is astonishing to me, is how close I am to this important piece of the world we live in, how important Thoreau was , how he inspired Gandhi, who then inspired Martin Luther King Jr. How important just this little spot was to the world I am now a part of. Also every little part of the pond, the sun reflecting through the beautiful forest around it and onto the water, the beautiful sand and water. Walden pond is something special, something that I will probably visit many more times in my life before I die. Now, I know that I will never look past it, every morning when I drive by it it is now amazing just to observe for the ten second I have whilst passing it, the beauty of the sun reflecting off the water in the morning, off of which little strings of fog are ever so slightly dancing off of.
In Thoreau's economy, he seems to try to say something against everybody. But, most of his problems with people are true, but, some people just cant see them behind what they think that person is. In the Fallacy In Philanthropy Thoreau talks about how in a way some poor people have a cover from what they really are. That most people giving poor people money on the street can only see that cover. Then the people giving them money see that cover and feel bed for them and give them money. Money that that poor person might not even need. In the Fallacy in Philanthropy Thoreau speculates on how we should only give money to the people who really need it. Again this statement is still true today, lots of people give lots of money to people out on the street whom they hardly even know, and they do not know what these people will do with that money. They also do not know how that poor person got to be where they were. You never know if they are going do use that money for good reasons. Nowadays, some people might just take the money and go and spend it on the things that may have got them onto the streets and out of their jobs. What Thoreau was talking about is how philanthropy doesn't really help fix the problem that the poor people have. You need to take it out by its root, you need to find where it started then start from there. You shouldn't just give them money because that doesn't really help cure everything. Also you should only give money to those who truly need it, and those who you know will do good things with your money.
One can learn a lot by reading Thoreau's walden. Especially in economy where he talks about money and work. “In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; as the pursuits of the simpler nations are still the sports of the more artificial.” Excerpt From: Fitzsimmons, John. “Fitz's Abbreviated Walden 1-4.” iBooks. This quote really stuck out to me because it is something that you see around everywhere This is what I took away from this section of economy. That, people are too obsessed with their jobs and money, while, their jobs should only be a pastime activity so that they can make enough money to live. Not enough money to have four cars and have everything done for you, but, to have enough money so you can surviving in the harsh world. Because, what er learned in necessities is, what do you really need to live, in the money and work part of economy, Thoreau tells his friend to take the train while he goes on foot, and explains how with the train you have to pay the fare then there are billion other reasons of what will happen, the train starts off and them goes to different spots, and you end up getting there late that night or early the next morning, with less money, and you became part of the work as well. As for Thoreau who would go on foot, he would arrive earlier and without having to pay any money. Just because he wasn't lazy and he would walk. I feel like this can be an analogy for most things in life as well, if you want something done for you quicker and the way you want it, do it yourself and do not rely on others to do it for you. Why take the train when you have two perfectly good feet which you can use to walk with.
Education, sitting in a room and listening to people talk all day, maybe taking in about a third of what the teacher is saying. This is what a lot of modern schools are like, these are also how Thoreau pictured the schools. To think people are paying absurd amounts of money, just fir their child to sit and stew in a classroom all day not learning or remembering practically anything that the teacher says. “I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.” Excerpt From: Fitzsimmons, John. “Fitz's Abbreviated Walden 1-4.” iBooks. This quote really stuck out to me while reading the Education section of economy. I believe that every sing thing that Thoreau says in this small part is true. Education was a rather small section word wise, but, it was overflowing with information. All of which I could not agree with more. Even though kids aren't learning things all they are asked to do is to regurgitate what has been said to them. What Thoreau states and what I believe is this, you sill never truly learn something until you do it yourself, you could hear it one hundred times, and see it one thousand times, but, you will never know completely how to do it, until you actually do it for yourself. During class you might be able to listen and nod your head at the right times, and regurgitate the right words when needed and study the right stuff to make good grades, but, with no experience, when you actually do something like that, even though you know exactly what to do and how to do it, you are prone to making a mistake. Because, studying the right things and listening does not prepare you for anything, it does not prepare you for what could go wrong only what to do. The only true way to learn things is by experience and mistakes.
“It appeared to me that for a like reason men remain in their present low and primitive condition; but if they should feel the influence of the spring of springs arousing them, they would of necessity rise to a higher and more ethereal life.” Excerpt From: Fitzsimmons, John. “Fitz's Abreviated Walden 1-4.” I really enjoyed reading this part of Thoreau's walden, I felt like it really tied in with the necessities part of the chapter. What it really meant to me was how you don't really need all this stuff to live, you don't need a huge house or a really nice car to live. But the thing is that it is different for every single person. Everybody has different things that make them happy. This is where i feel like Thoreau can go wrong. Maybe people don't really want to live a simple life because they enjoy working hard. But, like Thoreau said in the beginning of economy. This book is not for the people who are happy with what they are and how they work, and especially if they know how they got there. In the experiment Thoreau goes and builds his own house for an extremely cheap prices for the things he had to pay for. Thus shows that you do not really have to pay an extremely high amount for a house with many excess rooms that some of which you may barley even use. One room can have many multiple purposes, you do not have to have a different room for a different purpose. Thoreau only had one room and it is pretty much where he did everything when he was in his house. When he wasn't he had everything he needed all around him. But he didn't need to really pay for it because he relied on the land. But very few people rely on the land like Thoreau. Most people claim that he wasn't really living on the land because he went and ate dinner at the Emerson's and brought his laundry to his mom every week. He did do both of those things, but, like he said before in the introduction. He did not move out to walden to try and survive, he went to go and get a better view of society.
Like I have said before, I have really enjoyed reading henry david Thoreau's walden, I especially enjoyed this reading. Getting into the clothing part, the biggest thing that i took away from this part of the reading was how every person has an image. But your clothes are kind of like your cover, and everybody knows that you should not judge a book by its cover. So, what Thoreau was saying that, you should not really buy all these fancy clothes so that you can get the girls, or maybe buy fancy cloths to give the appearance to people that you are rich. Also he was saying do not let your clothing creat your image, you should find your style, and what works with you, and stick with it. My favorite part of clothing was how at the very end Thoreau says, “In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high." This reminds me of a Wayne Gretzky quote, which is, "you miss one hundred percent of the shots that you do not take." What these two quotes mean to me is that, you should aim for high goals, because if you do not try, you defiantly know that you will obtain those goals, but if you do, you never know what might happen. At least you have a chance. Getting into the second part of the reading shelter, what i took away from this part was how shelter is now one of the things that is truly necessary, mostly because most people do not know what it is like to be without it, and how hard it is. But also, like personalities and clothing types, there are many different types of shelter, and each type can work for different people. Like native americans in wigwams or tipis. Also, shelter is everywhere, everybody has or uses a shelter of some kind. But, to what extent is shelter necessary, do you really need the four story mansion with a pool in the back yard when you live right next to the beach. Also, it is part of human nature to at least try to be better than other humans, like Thoreau said, a man may be in debt for the. Rest of his life, just so he could have a house like his neighbors. Here is another point, shelter can be expensive, so why live your life thinking about how you are going to come up with the money to keep on paying loans for that giant house with the pool and the hot tub. When you can go into the woods and build your own house for less than a fraction of the price and with no rent. You don't always have to be as good as your neighbors or your friends, everybody has different situations, some people have families to feed as well, while others live alone. Some people are farmers, and may not make as much as the business man makes. I felt like so far, all of Thoreau's chapter have been linked together in a way, I really enjoyed reading clothing and shelter and I believe that most things that Thoreau has said in these is still true today, they both bring up the question, what do you really need to live.
There are many things in life that we have, but how many of which do we really need to live. In Thoreau's second part of walden, necessities, he spectates on how everybody has all of this new stuff that is supposed to be the best on the market and better than everybody else's, but is all of this new stuff really necessary. Like I talked about in my last piece on walden, even though Thoreau's walden was written a very long time ago, most of his statements in the book so far are still true today. If you asked people what they want, the list would be infinite, that's because people's wants I finally exceed their needs. But, if you go to people and ask them what they need, the list will still be very long. But most of those thing are still really unnecessary, the only things you need in life are those that just lay in your house all day collecting dust, it is not those with sentimental value, it is those that you truly need to survive, and with ought them you would die, plus the one thing that lets you do the thing you love. Because a life where you are just living, barely surviving, is no way to live.
So far, I have really enjoyed reading the book walden. Before I get into describing the meaning of Thoreau's first part of walden, economy. I would like to spectate on the intro. I really enjoy how he states who he believes the book is meant for, and how if your life is perfect, you know where you are, who's you got there, and where your going, this book is not for you. It is for the people who's life's are not perfect. To me, the meaning of the chapter economy, how every man does not do what he wants to do, but only what he believes that he has to, and in reality he doesn't have to, and how every person, is inside all day everybody working like machines. Even thought this book was written a long time ago, I still be alive that most, and pretty much all of Thoreau's points are still true, how everybody works like machines in jobs they don't even enjoy doing. What this chapter means to me is, do what you love. Don't just do something you hate because somebody wants you to do it or for its pay, do what you love to do. Because a day where you enjoyed what you were doing, I can guarantee will be at least ten times better than a day wasted in a job you hate no matter how much that job pays.