Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Introspective Glimpse Into Thoreau

Please respond, individually, to the following prompts. When you are finished, please ask a question. As you are writing your discussion thread, make sure to use specifics from the text to back up your responses and to keep questioning, challenging other people's thinking. I would like our discussion to talk not only about the text, but its application to contemprorary society.

Please write your favorite quote and analyze its significance. (What intrigues you about Thoreau's perspective of living?) Also, Thoreau went to Walden to find out what was necessary in life and what could be done without-he claims a more fulfilling life is simpler. Do you agree? Leave us with an interpretative or critical level question.

150 comments:

  1. "That if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagines, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours," (Thoreau 243). To me, this quote means that I can do anything that I set my mind to, whether it is getting good grades, excelling in sports or other aspects of my life. However, I disagree when Thoreau claims that a more fulfilling life is simpler. I agree that purging life of unnecessary distractions and clutter is good, but it is unlikely that everyone could live in the woods in solitude; everyone may be happier, but the world would deteriorate. What distractions get in the way of peace?

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  2. "I lived alone in the woods, a mile from any neighborhood, in a house which I built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts..." This quote really shows what Thoreau is all about, he enjoys nature. He relies on himself and the environment around him to survive. Right off the bat he introduces the setting and how it goes connects to the rest of the story.

    What does nature give us that our neighborhoods and cities don't?

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  3. My favorite quote of Thoreau's is: "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." Thoreau values the idea of simplicity, and stresses the importance of it in life. He believes a simpler life is a happier life, and that everyone should avoid complications in life. Do you agree with this idea? Do you think a simpler life is a happier one?

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  4. "The surface of the earth is soft and impressionable by the feet of men; and so with the path that the mind travels"(pg 243).
    Thoreau is saying that we all tend to think the same things, just as we all tend to walk on the same path in a forest. We are allowed to walk- or think- outside of the path, but for some reason we don't. That said, is it really such a bad thing to value the opinions of others or learn from their wisdom?

    Are your thoughts a collection and interpretation of other's thoughts?

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  5. My favorite quote was, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life" (237). I think that this quote sums up what the transcendentalists want in life. They want to figure out what the essentials of life are, and then try to live by these essentials. I don't completely agree that a more fulfilling life is simpler. For me, my ultimate fulfillment in life would be to open a modernist cuisine restaurants with exciting equipment and food. But this would by no means what so ever would be simple. " What do you guys think the "Essential facts of life" are?

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  6. "Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Page 243 I think that this is interesting because Thoreau is saying that you don't just have one purpose in life, you have many. And by leaving one "life" you are exploring another. I do agree with Thoreau when he says a simplistic life is more fulfilling because when I look around at the world it seems that the happiest people are not the richest, most famous, or smartest. The happiest people are content with what and who they have and that is enough. Therefore, why do some people think that the more material goods you have, the happier you are?

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  7. "He was there to represent specatordom,,and help make this seemingly insignificant event one with the removal of the Gods of Troy." This quote stuck out to me in the fact that it compares the mundane with the awe inspring. The destruction of Troy, whether it b myth of fact, was awe inspiring. The destruction of this little cabin would seem not to be, but by making it kin with great events, one can enjoy and revel in it. It takes the boredom out of work, the tedium out of the mundane. He is saying one can cover the boring with the exciting, even if it is not truly there.

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  8. My favorite quote was on page 237 Thoreau says, "But if we stay at home and mind our business, who will want railroads? We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us". I felt inspired by this quote. When he says "it rides upon us", I feel like he is saying that railroads ruin the land not help it. Its riding our view of nature and somewhat blinding us from what is really there. I also think that the "us" he is talking about is nature and how nature is not being helped out by the railroads but rather being crushed down. Without these railroads life would be simpler. I totally agree that life would be more fulfilling if it was simple. If we all worked for ourselves and supported our family with out worrying about everything else, the world could become happier. Going out every day to experience nature rather than traffic would surely enrich my life. Do you think that it is possible to live a simpler life in this world of material goods? Is there a pleasure of being one with nature? or has that wish/desire gone extinct?

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  9. "Our life is frittered away be detail...Simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand..." What are the essential elements in life that we should be in touch with? Could you take the clutter out of your life? Is ths an easy task to achieve? Are people trapped by an artificial routine?

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  10. "The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats. It was not always dry land where we live."(Pg 244, 2nd paragraph) I find Thoreau's way of living very interesting, he is totally independent and still enjoys himself. I have a similar perspective on life, being that it is over crowded with insignificant details, but I don't think that I would have the power or initiative to take on a project as big as his. I think too many people focus on things that are not truly important, and lose their focus and themselves in the process. My question is, where does the negative connotation of solitude come from? Why are so many people afraid to be alone?

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  11. Kendall: I think it depends, a simple life leaves you stress free and worrisome. With a simple you just focus on living and nothing else.

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  12. My favorite quote comes from page 234 in Economy "I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well." i love this quote because I believe it is so true. There is nobody that we know better than ourselves. i believe that the strongest people are the ones who know themselves and the things they believe in and stand for. I think Thoreau knew himself and he found the things that he needed in his life. His way of life is inspiring to me.

    I believe that finding a "fulfilling" life is a very personal thing. It depends on what you live for and everyone lives for different things. For Thoreau a fulfilling life may be a simple life but I don't believe that is true for everyone. Living a fulfilled life comes from inner happiness and everyone gets inner happiness from different things.

    What makes life "fulfilling?"

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  13. "Under the most splendid house in the city is still to be found the cellar where they store their roots as of old, and long after the the superstructure has disappeared posterity remark its dent in the earth."
    This quote really jumped out at me because Thoreau is trying to say that whether it is a mansion or a Eskimo hut, all of our homes are in the ground. This quote illustrates how all human and animals and all living creatures are all part of the Earth and nature. And no matter how different they may seem, we are all interconnected.

    The method Thoreau chose to reconnect with necessity in life was bold and extreme. And although it has proved to be effective, not all of us have the luxury of throwing away our lives to discover what is necessary to living. Some peoples' happiness does originate from material things and I do not completely agree with Thoreau that we need only the bare-minimum to be happy. Some people find happiness in their friends, not solitude. Some people find happiness in relaxation, not farming beans. Sure maybe for a couple years Thoreau was okay on his own, but eventually he did come back to tell others of what he discovered.

    Does everyone have to go to such extremes to be in tuned with nature, or could we just learn to appreciate simple beauty in everyday life?

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  14. "Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rainstorms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting;" This shows that to Thoreau one of the best things in life was being trapped in a place where there was room to think. He could think about the life he left behind and the new one he created for himself. This makes me wonder about what he really enjoyed in life,because if I lived alone and was cut off from everyone I would get so bored and go back to what I was before. I would tend to disagree with his idea that a more fulfilling life is simpler, I think that a fulfilling life is a balance of a little bit of everything. If you tried to live like Thoreau, how long do you think you would last?

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  15. Maria- I think the most common distraction that gets in the way of inner peace is people. Whether it's people in your life distracting you, music where people are singing, people acting on tv, they all seem to distract others. When you are able to have a moment of self reliance, I think that that is when you are most at peace. Class- Does solitude always lead to inner peace?

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  16. Brendon: I think nature gives us a fresh outlook on what really matters. It is calming and it is easier to forget your problems in nature. I think nature is the best way to clear your mind. Whereas in the cities, it is always so busy and loud, you can never just have a minute of complete peace.

    Should more people take time to go out and explore nature?

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  17. "I do not know; but I thought that his industry would not be worth much thereafter. I never learned which party was victorious, nor the cause of the war; but I felt for the rest of that day as if I had my feelings excited and harrowed by witnessing the struggle, the ferocity and carnage, of a human battle before my door."
    This quote shows how the things society deems important, success, war, and wealth, are irrelevant once you take a step back. He was living and enjoying himself without the burden of these things.
    If transcendental ideals are so refreshing and good, why do we not adhere to them?

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  18. Thoreau says on page 243, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." This quote is very intriguing to me because it stresses the importance of individuality and self reliance which corresponds with Emerson's "Self-reliance". What we must take away from a quote like this is that we have the freedom to make our own decisions for ourselves and it shouldn't matter if we are different from others and have different points of view. The world we live in enjoys hearing inspirational stories and quotes about individuality and not conforming, but do we have the strength to actually apply those ideals in our life? In the bigger picture of your OWN life, others actions don't matter unless they inspire action.

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  19. "...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 learnt what it had to teach, and not, when I can to die, discover that I had not lived."
    My interpretation is that he wanted to boil life down or as he said, "drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..." to see what really makes it worth living. I agree that getting rid of everything superfluous is the only way to really 'study' life in the depth it deserves. I found it interesting that many of the experiences he shared really brought out a very simple, child-like part of him. Like when he described the ants fighting or chasing the loon around the pond. It made me wonder, what from childhood do we lose with age that can be regained through simplicity?

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  20. Whitney- I think some people can be brought happiness by material goods, but it is shallow happiness. I think that only true and genuine happiness can come from being with the ones you love and doing the things that you love to do.

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  21. @Brendon--
    Nature can give us the peace and solitude that our busy lives cannot always fulfill. I really liked how Thoreau built his own hut; how much different do you think the world would be if we all had to build our own houses? One thing I thought was interesting was the fact that Thoreau wasn't lonely in the woods; "Why should I be lonely?" (Thoreau 238). If you lived alone in the woods, do you think you would become lonely, or could nature be your companion, like it was for Thoreau?

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  22. "Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves."

    Thoreau sees life as a continuation of adverse perspectives. He knows that circumstances change, and rather than resisting them, he embraces them. Thoreau notices the doldrums of the daily grind and refuses to find a place and mindset in which to settle down. Thoreau's life was one of constant change and continuation; he was never quite able to settle down.

    What is most intriguing is that Thoreau sees the different phases in life as different lives entirely, able to reshape and reform others' perceptions. However, this freelancing mindset does not work in modern America, in which one's identity is his entire being. One cannot simply move to a lake somewhere and disappear from his debts and responsibilities.

    Can Thoreau's notion of carrying on several lives apply to modern life?

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  24. My favorite quote reads, "...when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I am intrigued by Thoreau's perspective of thinking, as it shows that we should seize the day and live with no regrets. I think that the quote means that we should learn from the most that life has to offer to really live, and if we don't on our deathbed we will find that we missed out on so many things. Thoreau said that the more fulfilling life is simpler. I agree with that, because just hanging out with friends and sometimes reading a book is satisfying. Do you think living a simpler life is living in solitude or not?

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  25. I think a simple life offers more fulfillment to those who wish that particular feeling over others. For many, a complicated action packed life is fun, exhilirating, if not as fulfilling as a simple slow paced one. Also, it depends of the man or woman in question, for some fulfillment comes from constant interaction and action. So what is fulfillment? I think everyone's idea of fulfillment is and always will be different even if only slightly.

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  26. Torri-Do we do too much? Do we focus on the unecessary too often? What should "living" be about?

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  27. Whitney K- Do you think that Thoreau means actual lives? Or different places and people? I am a firm believe in change. Moving around all the time as a kid as led me to believe that change is the best. But now today is there too much change with in life- like from simple to complex? How do you think we will be able to make our lives simpler without destroying what we know to be home today?

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  28. “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.” This brought up many ideas I had never considered before. Like Thoreau I believe that society and industrialization can consume our lives at times. Just like the project Joe and I are doing on the generation gap this shows us that as we become more advanced and more skill in our fields of work it begs the question, is it really beneficial to advance this much? I agree with Thoreau when he says that the simpler life is the most fulfilling because if you notice in life the happiest people are usually the ones who go back to their roots or in other words the most important things to them in life. I leave you with these two questions: Would you be able to isolate yourself from the world in order to achieve a more fulfilled life? What would you hope to gain in life by doing so?

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  29. @ Emily, I like your question about living a simple life in a world of material goods. I think it is possible to live a life that is simpler than others, but I don't think it is possible to live without material goods. Does living with material goods mean your life isn't "simple"?

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  30. Olivia- I think that we should strive to see beauty in every day life. Yes, mountains, trees, and waterfalls are pretty, but they won't bring as much joy as laughing with friends or falling in love. There are some amazing things that happen to us everyday that we can't see, only feel, and sometimes those are the most beautiful things in life.

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  31. "But alas! We do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveler with their chattering and unmusical notes."

    In this quote, Thoreau compares humans to birds who place their eggs in other nest so that they can avoid the work. These foreign eggs act like leaches, eating all of the food, taking up space and even killing other birds in the nest. Thoreau says that humans don't create anything on their own, they simply borrow everything they want from others who put in hard labor. He is almost insulting mankind in its utter lack of ability to be self sufficient. What makes us incapable? Are we not all born with the same need for survival as other creatures? Or are we destined to be like these birds, forever stealing from the hard-workers?

    I agree with Thoreau in his reasoning behind the "less is more" mentality. Life is so simplified when we de-clutter our lives, but I don't think this extreme of an example is necessary. Can driving all material items away be viewed as visionary or crazy?

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  32. Garrett: It depends on how long we want it to last. People have shown that it is easy to live this way, but it would be difficult as we are used to life where people provide us education, clothes, accessories, and food. So it would be big step to do everything on our own in with only nature providing.

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  33. Aubrey- I disagree with Emerson and Thoreau in the idea that we should not let others' ideas contribute to our own opinion. I think my opinions are based on what I hear, and are a collection of what others think. By listening to someone else's opinions, it helps you form your own. Hearing different perspectives may help you to see the situation differently, and might even change your opinion. Hearing a different opinion gives us a chance to learn something new, and I don't think we should have an opinion while refusing to listen to anyone else's side.

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  34. Aubrey-
    I like your interpretation of that quote. I had not thought that that was what Thoreau was saying. I had interpreted the quote to mean that we must treed lighting on Earth because we can leave such brutal and harsh damage. To answer your question, I do not think that valuing other's opinions is bad thing at all. In most cases, we can see a broader perspective if we look at how others view the world. It tends to make us better and more progressive by communicating with one another.

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  35. "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."
    When I read this quote it made me think of living my life to the fullest. Sometimes I look back and think "look what i was missing." I understand that getting in to a good college and finding a job is important, but sometimes I need to stop and enjoy life. It can't all be work, sometimes we have to play. With that play comes wisdom. Not book smarts, but being able to connect with nature and other people. I don't want a life with money but not happiness. It seems as if the simplest lives make people the happiest. So why are people focusing on the end result instead of enjoying the journey?

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  36. My favorite quote is simple yet really solidifies Walden's perspective on life. Walden writes, "At present I am a sojourner in civilized life once again." The most important word in this sentence is clearly sojourner, which means one who is on a temporary stay. Walden clearly shows the reader that the time he had in nature was preferable in his eyes and he wants to get back to that life, he is simply making a quick stop in civilization. I think this is interesting because one would think that after of two years of hard labor and seclusion one would want to return to the simple luxuries of civilized life like a cozy bad or a pre-prepared meal. I also think that Walden's sojourn may also apply to his whole life, where his life is a temporary stay. This may show some belief in an afterlife and something greater than himself.
    I am completely the opposite when it comes to the opinion that a more fulfilling life is simpler. I feel most fulfilled when I accomplish a difficult task or succeed in the actions that I have been doing for an extended period of time. For example, when I get an A in an honors class or win a long tennis match I feel much more fulfilled than if I would have just got a 100 in Business Tech or won a match easily. While I see that Walden may want to find peace with himself and his surroundings, I don't really feel like that could be overly fulfilling. Being isolated from everything is not that the way to go about, even if it is easier. How else can a busier lifestyle be more fulfilling?

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  37. My favorite quote is on the very first page, "...I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately... when I came to die, I discovered that I had not lived." This shows the other side of the perspective on modern life. Everyone thinks that they need advanced technology and comforts while being surrounded by others to actually live when Thoreau suggests that that is all wrong. That that isn't actually living. The exact opposite of that including self reliance and solitude among nature is fully and truly experiencing life. However, I don't think that Thoreau's idea of living is reasonable for everyone. If all of society just stopped working their jobs and went off into nature to hunt and gather, it would be taking a four thousand year step backwards.

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  38. Jonathan: No I do not think solitude always gives a person inner peace. Some people gain their peace and happiness from being around others. If they were in solitude, it would bore them and they would probably feel lonely. Class: Do you think Thoreau ever wished he was not living in solitude?

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  39. My favorite quote in the writing was under the subject title, from Where I lived, and What I lived For in the first paragraph: "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 has to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I has not lived." What I really admired about this quote was that Thoreau is trying to live purely. Thoreau expresses that you don't need a lot of things to live a good life, which I think is a good value to live by. In society today, we are so focused on how many material items we own, or on the material items that we want, that we don't focus on what we really need. Which, despite popular opinion, is not a lot. If we limit ourselves, we will be able to focus more on life, than the accessories of life. We will be able to focus our time on what really matters to us, rather than what matters to society. What do you think are major necessities in our life?

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  40. "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: That if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
    When Thoreau reflects through this passage, he intended to explain that because he followed what HE wanted to do, and what made HIM happy, which was living in the wilderness, he was happy and considered himself successful. He means it almost as advice, as to say anyone can be successful as long as they are happy with what they are doing. I don't completely agree with Thoreau when he says a simpler life is better. Of course people should take time out of their day to pay attention to the changing leaves or glistening snow or fire ants doing their daily jobs, but the excess which has become modern life isn't all bad. The excess can improve life just as much as it takes away from certain parts. But the most important part is to at least appreciate what it is and to balance it with being humble. If life and nature is usually about balance, how can we, in the modern world, be balanced between transcendental values and the hustle and bustle of today?

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  41. @Dan I think that we don't adhere to transcendental ideals because in today's world there isn't enough time to take that big of a step back and keep up with the people around you.

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  42. @Addie i agree that often people are happiest at thier roots, but yet many can find happiness far away from their beginnings, often the only way for someone to find it is to get as far away from their roots as possible.
    So why should our roots be more important than our present?

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  43. A "more fulfilling life" is a subjective phrase if there ever was one. To a simplistically-minded individual, simple is more fulfilling. To a materially-minded individual, living for material items is more fulfilling.

    We are all individuals, and take different aspects of life to be good or bad. Why do we judge others' ways of life, claiming what is "better" and what is "worse?"

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  44. @ James: I think that it is totally possible to live a life simplified without solitude. In fact, companionship is one of the few things I think that should not be given away. The important part of simplicity is getting rid of the unnecessary clutter.

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  45. Garrett- I don't think that I would last very long. While I think it would be awesome to just get away for a period of time, the time would only be special because it is different from our normal lives. Once this kind of life became the norm it would lose its flare.

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  46. @Holly-
    As we grow up, I think we lose the trust that we had as a child. We don't take as many chances, and worry about the questions we ask. I think that the time Thoreau spent alone in nature was comforting partly because he didn't have to live up to anyone's expectations and was free to marvel without disruption, like a child. Do you think we have lost appreciation for nature and God's gifts when compared to past generations?

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  47. Mrs. Comp- Yes I do believe we do too much. I personally would rather take the time to do something thoroughly, and enjoy myself while I do it rather than worrying about whatever I may do next. So many people are concerned about what kind of phone they have or how cool they look in their new shoes rather than finding ways to make themselves and others around them happy, which I think living should be about.

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  48. James- I love that quote too! I agree when you talk about seizing the day, because we never know when we are going to die. I do not think that living simply is living in solitude. I considered living simply is not worrying about material goods and other things that are unnecessary. To me relationships and nature drive our lives. Both are powerful and life changing.

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  49. Amanda- I think that people focus more on the end result instead of the journey because they believe that if they reach it it will make them happier. If people think that getting a good job and then retiring will make them happiest, they will try to get the good jobs and such instead of enjoying what is around them.

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  50. Maria- I might be lonely at first as I wouldn't be used to life, but over time I would have to work with nature. If we want to survive then we can't be lonely and condense in to nature. What effect does loneliness have on us in the way we live?

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  51. "I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary," page 237. Thoreau believed that if he was doing something with his life that was not worthwhile, then he should not be doing that at all. Quitting is never a productive act and therefore the very idea of it should be gotten rid of completely. I mostly agree with this but I am not sure if there is ever an instance in which you should quit doing something you love. That is, if it isn't a risk to your health or very very illegal.
    I feel like a more fulfilling life is different for every person. I mostly agree with Thoreau when he says that a more fulfilling life is simpler. But I think that my definition of simple is different than his. I believe that I need close friends and people that I love to live a fulfilling life. In my opinion, love can be very simple. People only make it complicated. I could go without all of my material possessions for the rest of my life. But I could not simply go into the woods and be alone forever. The people around me make my life what it is.
    How do we separate the simple from the complicated?

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  52. @Victoria...I agree. This extreme example certainly shows us things, but, in my opinion, it's crazy. I believe it takes an extreme example like this however to open people's eyes to what could be.

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  53. @Chad
    I think that I would be able to survive, but I wouldn't really live, I would just exist.

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  54. Daniel S- I think that Transcendental ideals are hard to adhere to because we value love and companionship. We take a risk in trusting and relying on others. We take a risk by saying that people matter to us, and we take a huge risk when we say that we love them. The human relationship is flawed, as most human things are, but most people recognize that the risk is well worth the reward.

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  55. Torri-
    I believe that a lot of the fear of solitude comes from media. There are so many scary movies where someone is home alone and gets slaughtered. Or alone in the woods, enjoying a nature hike, and they get mauled by a grizzly bear. When we are alone, there is no one around to cloud our minds and what we have up their can be mysterious. I think fear of solitude is derived from fear of the unknown.

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  56. Hanna~ I agree with you about that quote, it was also one of my favorites. I believe one of the most difficult struggles in life is to find out who you are and the things which you stand up for. I don't believe that everyone would do the same thing as Thoreau did to find themselves but I do believe that at some point in life everyone should go on a self searching journey; whether that journey is spiritual, literal, or even introspectively it should be taken

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  57. The first few lines fron the section "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" has a line that was cut out that says, Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." What a sad truth-do you think most people are doing this-are we dead as we are living? In "Conclusion" it says, "Most have not delved six feet beneath the surface, nor leaped as many above it. We know not where we are. Beside, we are sound asleep nearly half the time."

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  58. Joe- I think that we judge others because it is human nature. We do it without even thinking about it. We like to compare others and their possessions to our own. While judging them, we determine whether the aspect we are judging is good or bad. Judging things is how we form opinions, and can be equally harmful or helpful. Judging is so natural to us, that it takes a conscious effort to to judge.

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  59. Torri: I think that the negative connotation of being alone came from progression in society and technology. Now days, people can't go a day without being connected to whoever they want through all of the resources we are supplied with to "stay in touch." People are afraid to be alone because we are extremely dependent on others as well as materialistic items to meet our needs and desires. Also, the American Dream has a huge effect on the perception of being alone. The perfect family consists of a husband, wife and two kids, which tells people that if they end up alone they will die miserable. This is yet another race that we run in life-- find someone to marry so you wont be alone and all things will turn out right.

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  60. Thoreau says,"This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space". This has an importance to everyone on earth because of how true and how we can all relate to this. The importance of this is shown by how we feel like we are alone sometimes and this is not at all true. I believe this because of the connections that were attached to this quote. Thoreau compares us to the universe and how we should be opposite of lonely because of how there are so many on earth compared to the universe and this results in us not having to feel lonely when it really is solitude to gather thoughts and emotions. I felt like this was a good explanatory quote of how people act now days. This quote hints at the ideas that we don't really know how small we are compared to the universe and therefore should not feel alone. How can we change this understanding and realize that it's alright to not always have to be with people?

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  61. @Jack-Roots can be very important to some people but insignificant to others. It all depends on the person. If someone doesn't like their past, then they will probably dismiss their roots. Some people take great pride in their roots and therefore mention them constantly. But without our roots, we wouldn't be where we are now.
    Are our roots motivation for our future?

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  62. Emma, I think the main necessities are the obvious ones, food, water, shelter, yet I think we often need other people in our lives too, so they can challenge us and present different ideas than just our own. I also think our imagination is a necessity because it helps us create things, and inspires us to achieve unimaginable things.

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  63. @joe i completely agree, to say "a More fulfilling life is like say saying milk is better than soda, or somethi8ng to that effect. It is an opinion and rarely are two peoples opinions exactly the same, if ever so "a more Fulfilling life with always be subjected to personal interpretation.

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  64. Class- on the last page Thoreau makes reference to humans as living their lives in 'drought'. In what ways do you see this to be true? What can end the drought?

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  65. “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.”
    Thoreau is telling readers that he went to be alone so that he could truly reflected on life. With only himself for companionship he could think about his life. Was he living it right? He wants readers to know that he did this for his own benefit. He wants to learn from nature, and find the way to live his life to the fullest.
    I agree with Thoreau’s reasons for living in solitude. Many times when I am alone I have my best ideas, and I work much better than I do with people. I have time to think and many times when I am just thinking I am at my happiest. Do you think that Thoreau’s lifestyle would benefit most people? Why?

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  66. Hannah- The loss of material goods would make life simpler but at this point it is not possible to leave all material goods behind. Clothes are kinda necessary at this point... But as Thoreau says on page 243 "Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made". If we all start figuring out our own lives and not others, the relationships between people will grow more positively. I think relationships could replace some material wants, but material goods are here to stay.

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  67. Amanda- I think people see the success of the people around them and really want to be just like them, focusing on simply getting to their idea of success. Some people just want to be successful so bad that they get tunnel vision and only focus on what is ahead of them. It all comes back to the fact that the habit of our society is to try to be just like others, and not being our own person.

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  68. @Maria- Yes, I do think we have lost appreciation for things like that. As Thoreau said, "Our life is frittered away by detail." As humans however, I think this is unavoidable. Sophistication is inevitable, right?

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  69. @Whitney--
    I don't think that Thoreau ever did get lonely. He had nature as his companion, like the ants and rainstorms. Not having companions around gave him time to reflect and live in simplicity, but he moved on to live with society when he had learned from his self-reflection period in the woods: "Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." Do you think that other people can hinder us from reaching our full potential?

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  70. @Mrs. Comp I think that quote means that people act a certain way but in reality they don't feel what they are showing.

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  71. Joe- I think it is a way of us telling ourselves that our life is good. People are always talking about how they were more fortunate than the person next to them, so it is a reminder of their luck and fortune. Although others judge for the sake of judging, basically because they are able to. People like Thoreau leave this life so they can avoid, judging and being judged.

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  72. @Jack I agree with you that our roots alone can't define us as people. Most people only look at parts of the puzzle rather then the complete image and in doing so lose its meaning. I believe that people should never weigh one part of a persons life with more meaning then any other part, in the end all the parts make who the person is now. This should be what defines people, the image and not the pieces

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  73. @ Brendon, I think loneliness has a big impact on us because I believe the person we are is shaped by the people we are around. I agree with Emily that relationships are very important. Who would we be without the people around us?

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  74. Emily: You bring up an interesting point. I see what you mean and now that I think about it, I do think Thoreau did mean change. However when you ask about how the world is changing, I think there are a few different ways you can go. I do think that the world is attempting to make things more simplistic, but through complex ways. Does that make sense? So for example, the world keeps coming out with new technology that can make your day supposedly easier. However, what if you don't know how to use the technology, then your day becomes more complex. So I think that is part of what Thoreau is saying. When he says, "some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rainstorms in the spring or fall..." he is showing that when he was in solitude with no technology or nature, he was his happiest. So I think one way for people to become more simplistic is to appreciate nature more that way they do not have to give up the things they love but they can also learn to appreciate nature.

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  75. @ Ms.Comp: I think this is a wonderful example of how so many people live life in autopilot. People often stick to what is familiar, safe, and who can call that living? Thoreau challenging this mentality, "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." Stopping and smelling the flowers every once and a while is what living is all about. Anyone who does not know how to appreciate this, is spiritually dead.

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  76. Torri- Thoreau says that many humans live in a drought because many of us live in the monotony of daily life and we do not stop to see the beauty of nature around us. It can change though, because as Thoreau says in the same paragraph, "It was not always this way" and so if we start to notice the beauty and live in it again, we can quench the drought.

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  77. What doe you think he means when he says he was like the Greek God Anteaus who got his strength from the Earth?

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  78. "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one" (Thoreau 243). This quote sums up why Thoreau left the woods, and though it may seem very simple for why he left, it interests me that he left for the same reason that he came, change, not simplicity. What interests me about this is that originally Thoreau had a want to live a life of simplicity and figure out what was necessary, which is why he went to the woods. But, after acquiring some knowledge, he felt he had more lives to live. So what does this mean? I think that Thoreau's statement of "a more fulfilling life is simpler", should be changed to "a more fulfilling life contains exploration and change". Really, the want to explore something new, try a new ideal, participate in something different, is a fulfilling concept itself. So , what inspires us to live our lives differently, or explore new ideals?

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  79. Class-
    One huge message I got from this text was that solitude and self-reliance are a part of becoming complete. Thoreau even says, "But if we say at home and mind our business, who will want railroads?"
    Do you think that everyone only relying on them self and no body communicating with each other is benefical to society as a whole, or even to an individual that is raised with only his little world?

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  80. @addie I agree wholeheartedly except that possible some parts of the puzzle can represent more of the person than others, i have a little brother, he is something that had partly made me who i am today but sports have played a larger role in defining who i am than the fact that i have a little brother.

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  81. In reference to life Thoreau says, "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.'" What does this say about people?

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  82. Tori- I think the drought will end when people are satisfied with their lives and appreciate the things they have. Thoreau is inferring that he moved on and is saying I enjoy my life.

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  83. In "Solitude" Thoreau states, "Men frequently ask me, 'I should think you feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.' I am tempted to reply to such-This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space." I love this passage because even though he is alone, he is not lonely. His immersion in nature shows true communion with all of life. There is a connection with these natuiral sources that surround him. Such a simple premise to live by. He believed that solitude was the best companion in order to know oneself-do you feel that is true?

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  84. Addie- I would have to disagree. I think that looking at the small pieces of something or someone gives a bigger insight to who they/it are as a whole. The small things in life can inspire beyond what we know now. There are too many things that we over look now a days because they are small then life itself. We need to start to appreciate what the small things have to offer.

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  85. Maria- I do think that so many people have lost the appreciation for nature. When Thoreau was describing the ant fight on 240 I though to myself 'who would stand there and watch ants fight?' because quite simply no one I know would. But there is something about that wonder of nature he rediscovered during this time, and to him, it was something fascinating to watch. I think that more people should make an attempt to notice the small things in nature and return to their state of wonder, since now a days too many people require too much to have their attention held, or to be impressed.

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  86. Torri- Not many people have truly been alone. Even a wolf-boy still has a "family". I think the idea of being all by yourself is frightening because we have never actually been alone. The unknown scares us because anything could happen and we have no control over it. Think about being truly alone. There would be no one to rely on. No one to talk to. Not a single person to care about you. Why even live? On page 238, Thoreau says, "I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another." This probably means that somewhere in the world there is someone who is thinking the same thing you are and that there is no reason to be frightened of having physical distance between you and other people.

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  87. @ KendallC2014 I do believe a simple life to be a happier one. Even when Thoreau is telling about his simple life it gives me a feeling of solitude. I think of all the stresses I wouldn’t have to worry about, homework, work, college, money, ect. I think I simple life leads to a less stressed life which to me is a happier life.
    What are some negatives to a simple life?

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  88. @Torri--
    I think that in order to "end the drought" we must take time to reflect on our lives, and try to do away with the unnecessary distractions that plague inner peace. I know that I should set aside time for unhurried walks, and not just because my dog needs to stretch his legs.

    Thoreau found inner peace by living in the woods. Understandably, not all of us can drop everything and live in solitude for three years. How can you improve your life bit by bit everyday?

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  89. Maria: Yes. Absolutely. There are people in the world who don't appreciate each person's talents and they undermine their ability to make a difference in the world today. However, I think that it is important that even if those people do exist in your life, you have to leave them behind and forget about them. As Thoreau says, " Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made." To me this means that the person who will hold you back most in your life, is yourself. You can put boundaries on your own life without even knowing it. It has been said that your own worst enemy is yourself. Do you agree or disagree?

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  90. @Torri I see a drought in our lives when we are consumed so much in ourselves that we overlook others. I think we should live for others as much as we live for ourselves and that we should be able to give help to others were we can as well as be willing to receive help ourselves when it is needed. People seem to be very willing to give help when it gives a reward in return but when it does not then I feel like people don't see the point. Do you believe that humanity in the future will be more willing to help each other even if there is no reward and if so in what ways? (For example politically, financially, ect.)

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  91. Mark- I think our inspiration to explore new ideals comes from seeing the success of those ideals for someone else. Some people may expand on these ideals and form them into something else, but it almost always is inspired by others. Class- Is any idea truly original?

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  92. Class- Was Thoreau excited by the glory of war in the story of the "brute neighbors"? I couldn't figure out what he was implying in that story.

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  93. Alyssa,
    The quote you chose the quote, “This whole Earth which we inhabit is but a point in space,” to mean that each individual is a company of his own.

    However, I find this quote to exemplify a notion adverse to that which Thoreau was trying to prove. This quote makes us feel insignificant, showing the absolute minimal importance that we have to the universe. Thoreau was trying to prove that a good life was a life close to the Earth. However, this statement alone shows how little the life of an individual matters.

    Why should one chose to be even more insignificant to the universe by choosing to seclude himself from the general population? This thinking makes no sense to me.

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  94. Hannah- I think our relationships with others are very important because they make life more enjoyable. Instead of only having yourself for comfort, we have friends and family who are there when we need them most and they are there during our best moments.

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  95. What does Thoreau mean when he says "We do not ride on the rail road; it rides upon us"?

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  96. Mark: I think boredom and complexity are motivators. Many people endure doing the same thing everyday. We have the same agenda 5 days a week, it does get old after a while. Many just want to escape from it all. In nature you can live a different life if you chose to, every sunrise is different.

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  97. Emily-
    I agree that the small things to play a huge role in our lives. Thoreau went into the woods and did not write about the vast land and his appreciation for it, he said that he had a lot of land. However, he did go into deep detail about ants and loon chasing and a tree hit by lightning. I believe that Thoreau would agree with us that the small things in life make it worth living.
    If we all gave up the complex big parts of our lives, could we still be happy with all of our small items or memories?

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  98. Mark-Does spontaneity play a part in this? In my eyes Thoreau is showing us that this idea of self discovery happens for different people at different times. Sometimes, we have to step outside our comfort to live fully to open our eyes to what we were blind to. There is ALWAYS more to explore, always more to learn, you have to be committed to living fully then opportunities and possibilites will open up to you. Like Emerson, he talks about rotuine and not being stuck in it, which ties with what Emrson speaks of in "Self Reliance". He moved away because he didn't want it to become an empty routine.

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  99. When he talks about how the loons on the pond were always a step ahead of him,"Each time he came to the surface, turning his head this way and that, and apparently chose his course so that he might come up where there was the widest expanse of water." Do you think he his stating that nature is better than man and that man must accept that to be whole.

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  100. In response to what James said, living simply does not necessarily mean living in solitude. I think that I am extremely content in my life and I aspire to live as simply as I can. The word "simplicity" can be perceived in many different ways. To me, it means appreciating every single thing that we are blessed with, each and every day. I try to include every single one of my thanks in my prayers each night and taking just those few minutes out of my day to show my gratefulness totally changes my perception of each day that I am granted to live on the Earth. I do not depend on others for my happiness, but I am extremely happy when I get to be around the people whom I love and appreciate. Living in complete solitude would be very difficult for me and I don't really see the significance of isolating yourself for a long period of time if you are already content with the life that you are living.

    Another quote that I think is worth discussing is, "It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves." (243) What I take away from this quote is the idea that without even knowing it or thinking twice, we are sucked into a monotonous way of living. We constantly see the same things and live the same way day to day without even wanting or yearning for more.

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  101. Mrs. Comp- I do admire Thoreau for going into solitude and being at peace with himself, but I think this depends on the person.Some people hate to be alone, and have to have somebody to talk to whenever they want. The idea of solitude is ridiculed by society, who believes that you will go mad without people to talk to. In a movie I watched, a man was marooned on a deserted island. He made a face on a volleyball and acted like it was a real person. This is one of the many examples of the idea that we need other people in our lives to stay sane. I know that I personally would hate living in solitude, and many others feel the same. People who agree with Thoreau are more rare, not that it's a bad thing to live in solitude, it just has to be a personal choice.

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  102. Olivia- I don't think that self reliance and not communicating with anyone else would benefit anyone, especially society. There would be no advancements in technology or anything if every single person had to worry about finding more food or seeking better shelter. All the scientists, architects, doctors, and teachers would be preoccupied with their own needs to live to the point where they would make no contribution to society leaving it stagnant I believe.

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  103. @Torri--
    I do think that we should get out more and enjoy nature. Thoreau's way of finding peace was living in a shack in the woods for three years. Understandably, not all of us can drop everything and leave like that. I know one way that I can find peace by finding time to go on an unhurried walk, and not just because my dog needs to stretch his legs.

    What are little ways we can find more peace in our lives everyday?

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  104. In a latter to his son, artist Sherwood Williams says,
    "I write as though you were a man. Well, you must know my heart is set on you.It isn’t your success I want. There is a possibility of your having a decent attitude toward people and work. That alone may make a man of you."

    We tend to judge success by anything but character. In the long line of things that make you successful- money, power, being the best in your field- many could argue that being successful has nothing to do with who you are as a person, but rather what others see you do.

    Do you think it is possible for society to redefine success to be all about your character?

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  105. @Brendon - Agreed. Perfectly summed up. Except for the sunrise part. What do you mean?

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  106. @ Chad- I don’t believe any idea is truly original. Inspiration comes from everyday things. No matter what the thought is there is something that inspired that thought. Every book, movie and art piece has a relationship with the artist life.

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  107. @Jared I don't think self reliance is supposed to benefit society, I think it is a skill that people learn for their own benefit.

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  108. @ Maria- I think that there is a bit of loss of appreciation for nature in our generation compared to past generations. With all the new technology present in the world today, our generation is captivated by the exploration of these new ideas. Thoreau mentions on page 237, "Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles and hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain." In this quote Thoreau describes the struggle of man to balance material goods and appreciation for the simple things in life. If one spends all their time living a simple life alone in the forest, ect. is it really benefiting them to allow all this knowledge to go right past them? And if a person spends all their time with technology and material goods, is is benefiting them to ignore the beauty of nature? Life is a balancing act-we must all find an equal ground between the two. Why is there this constant struggle to stay modernized and then to live simply? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

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  109. Whitney- That is a great point. Technology is making the future generation's lives "easier". But, this technology is making complex things more simple or in some ways difficult. For example homework has become more intense because we can do so much more with technology. But checking stocks or ordering food has become easier. But what if we went back to the time when we cooked our own food and did not have stocks. This would mean we do not need this technology to make things simpler, and consequently making more time for nature. If you followed what I was saying I am trying to get to the point that we need to rid the extra from our life and find joy in the things of nature like Thoreau did on page 235 "I took a particular pleasure in this breaking of ground". But is the pleasure from nature not a want in our world today?

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  110. Garrett, I think he is trying to say that man can not be without nature. When man and nature are one, then he is complete.

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  111. Rheana: I am not positive but to me that quote means that you direct your own life. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with the decisions you have made, therefore, you should not just follow the "rail road", you should create your own path and find yourself on it. Class: Do you think there is a certain point in everyone's life in which they should have discovered their purpose?

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  112. Rheana- I think it would be hard for people to suddenly transition to a simple life when they previously had all of this technology at their fingertips. Many people say they would like to have a simple life, but how many would actually do it? Would you leave your entire life behind to go live the kind of simple life that Thoreau did?

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  113. @Olivia... I don't think it is beneficial because we need each other to do certain things, you can always adapt to doing things by yourself and only you, but it is easier and more efficient to do things with others as a joint effort. I feel that the quote of "'I should think you would feel lonesome down there...'", is a good quote to describe my reasoning. The quote tells of the confusions of others to Thoreau's lifestyle and this is because he has learned to be self sufficient unlike them. The reason his lifestyle is not beneficial because of how he still needs money to buy the seeds he plants for food. This money come from working under a business (other people) and therefore he is, in a way, relying on other people in his town.

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  114. Class -
    " 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."
    If necessity is the mother of all invention, is simplicity the mother of all thinkers?

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  115. Brendon- Do you think that we could integrate the "new sunrise every day" into today's society?

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  116. @Aubrey-You make a good point. Although people appreciate others with good character, it will never define someone's success. I suppose if we all lived like Thoreau did, it would be the only thing we could use to assess success.

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  117. Think about this: "Why shold we live in such desparate haste to succeed and in such desparate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." What does this say about competition? Is it easy to march to the beat of your own drummer? what elludes us from self-trust?

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  118. Aubrey- I think it is impossible to redefine success as society revolves almost around our current definition of material success, not personal success. Society doesn't care about the person with the richest character, yet it cares about the person with the most money.

    Is a transcendentalists true goal to live in solitude and learn their personal essential facts of life?

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  119. @Aubrey I think it is possible to redefine success around the character of the country in that particular generation, look t the 50's success was defined as a hard working husband, dutiful wife, 2 kids and a white Pickett fence. Now many define success as millions of dollars, a mansion being famous and having scandals. I think society redifines itself depending of th core value of the people in it.

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  120. Thoreau writes "What shall I learn of beans or beans of me". What lessons should people everywhere learn from nature? What important lessons have you learned from nature?

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  121. Brendon,
    Maybe then you see the irony in our judging his life against our lives now.

    I honestly think Thoreau was trying to say "To each his own [as long it is for a purpose]," rather than "Live like I did."

    "I went to the woods because I wanted to life deliberately, in front of only the essential facts of life."

    To me, this means that he was discontented with his former life because it was going nowhere and wanted to find himself. The "essential facts of life" to him were nature and its beauty. However, to other individuals, these facts may be something completely different. He wants people to live with a purpose, not live like hippies.

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  122. Comp- I don't think spontaneity plays a part in this. You wouldn't just decide to go to nature just because its a first thought. People explore the things that they're interested in, the things that inspire them, and that is why we succeed. This is the reason for Arapahoe's "getting involved" statement. Arapahoe wants kids to explore new things, and find out what they like and have passion for, and I completely agree with that.

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  123. Addie- I agree with you, and as much as I would like to say that I hope people would be more willing to help each other in the future, I am sad to say I don't think they will. Of course there will always be the exception, and lots of people will help each other, it just seems to me that as time progresses our relationships become more materialistic and we stop caring as much about other people since we are so consumed by ourselves. I think that humans will just become more and more greedy as time progresses, and only seek out opportunities to help when they will be rewarded.

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  124. @Whitney--
    I know that I can be my own toughest critic, yes. But I disagree that I am my worst enemy. Since childhood, we have lost a simplistic way of thinking. We begin to question if what we're saying is stupid or not, instead of just "going for it." I think that these insecurities are part of the expectations of others. In other words, my critique of myself is so harsh because I'm so worried about what other people will think.

    Why do we care so much about the opinions of others and do you think that Thoreau's time in the woods cured him of his insecurities?

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  125. Jared-
    I agree with you 100%. I think that we had a way of life similar to the way Thoreau lived for a year. It is called the Neolithic Age. We had a revolution for that age, and although there are moral and ethnic problems, as an average, the world is pretty good, People do not have to worry about getting food everyday. If Thoreau was going to truly be simplistic he would have no currency or idea of what fire is.
    Is it possible to be completely free of material possessions and be truly self-reliant?

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  126. Jared, and class-what does Thoreayu think of technological progress?

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  127. In regards to Mrs. Comp's point-I think competition is at the heart of, "the chopping sea of civilized life." Society shuts down those who hear their "own drummer." Most of the time success means conformity.

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  128. Kendall- I think you have to sacrifice it because if you don't then it is almost like living aspects of your old life in a different place. Daniel Suelo sacrificed almost everything accept living and technology. He still had a blog, but the way he lived and how he lived change. He relied on himself to find things, but relied on people to take him to places he wanted to go, give him clothes, and even feed him to a degree. In today's time I don't think someone can completely sacrifice everything.

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  129. @Class What do you think has played a more important role in shaping your life: The people in it or the things you have accomplish or both? Why?

    I think both have shaped my life in very powerful ways and I wouldn't be who I was now without both. When my baby brother was born I wanted to be the best sister to him I could be and so I decided to be a reliable person for everyone in my life so they would know I care about them and that they each had a special place in my heart; this decision was all do to my brother. I think our accomplishments also play a significant role in our lives. When I was 12 years old my sister friends little sister was diagnosed with a very special and aggressive form of cancer. Her family and all of her friends were devastated, she was only 9 years old. In Japan there is a saying that if you have a million paper cranes you get one wish; with this saying in mind all of the family's friends began making paper cranes to give this very sick girl one wish. Before we were able to finish she passed away; at her funeral the paper cranes (500,00) were placed everywhere to show that we had never given up on her.

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  130. Emily: Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you saying that if we did not rely so much on technology, our lives would allow us more time for nature? If so yes I do agree with that. I find it sad that the world is this way. When I was younger I would spend all day outside playing, but now I see kids and all they want to do is watch tv and play videogames. So in response to your final question, no. Sadly I think that kids are deciding that it is more fun to stay in rather than going out and exploring nature. I think society desires to gain happiness from material items rather than from seeking time in nature.

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  131. Mrs. Comp- Thoreau is saying that many of us go through life surviving. We do all of the right things at the right times, and never really experience anything. Thoreau values thriving, which is to grow vigorously and flourish. He doesn't want to get stuck on the same thoughts that others have died and left behind. He wants to grow his own ideas, and to have really lived.

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  132. Victoria, are you saying that inventors are not thinkers? I disagree strongly. Simplicity is the mother of thinkers who think that simplicity is best.

    Many necessities exist because of lack of simplicity.

    Thinkers can think that more is good. I refuse to believe that simple is better. It is just one way of life among many. In this way, I think Thoreau was not infallible.

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  133. Mrs.Comp- I think that Thoreau would of disliked the idea of technological progress as it would make everything less simple and take away from the beauty of nature, therefore taking away from a more fulfilling life.

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  134. Comp-Since Thoreau talks about how the simplest life is the best I don't think he likes technological progress. Maybe he thinks technology is just not for him. Is all technological progress good?

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  135. Olivia- I think that I could be happy without the big things in life. I always remember the small things rather than the large events. I think sometimes we get lost in scheme of things and do not make the memories that we could if we focus on the small things. Just as Thoreau talked about how he played the game with loon, he focused on one bird rather than the area around him.

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  136. If these great men believed that all knowledge comes from self knowledge and people need to discover life themsleves, do we need people in our lives?

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  137. @ Holly I agree that people see success a doing something similar a little better than the person before them. What would be a nonconforming way to succeed?

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  138. Does a life with simplicity mean a life without competition? Competition is part of our nature. As humans with minds like ours, weren't we destined to lose simplicity?

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  139. Joe, I understand what you are saying, and it makes sense. I agree with what you mean by how we shouldn't make ourselves less significant, but what I was meaning to say that it is really personal opinion and you can choose to be secluded if you believe it's the best. does that make sense?

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  140. Whitney- Some people know why they are here right now. Some people won't figure it out till college. Some will see it when they are adults. And some may not completely understand what they are doing here until they are on their deathbeds. I don't believe that there is a set date in which you will figure out why you are here. It is different for everybody. A purpose can be big or small depending on who the person is. I feel like people who are searching and searching for a purpose and not finding it are searching for something too complicated. Thoreau says on page 243, "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: That if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." This means that people have to be patient in searching for their purpose. It will come eventually in places where you least expect it.

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  141. @Kendall- I would love to think I could give up all this technology and my complex life, but in reality I believe I could never do it. It would be nice for a week or two, but I believe the solitude would drive me crazy. I think giving up a complex life would benefit many people, but how many could actually do it? However the people who could give up there modern lifestyle and live a simple life would benefit the most from it. Those with strong will power would understand the point of living like Thoreau the most.

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  142. Mrs. Comp- I don't feel like we can necessarily judge his opinion on technological progress since it is never really clearly stated. Many of his ideas do contradict technological process though. I think he is more for slowing down which is contradictory of a society that is constantly trying to get ahead.

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  143. @ Joe: At what point though, does the idea become so complex that the intent is lost? A pure, and simple idea can still change the world.

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  144. Comp- I mentioned this quote earlier and reading it provoked the same thoughts in me. I think that is incredibly difficult to go to the beat of your own drummer. We fear what other people will think of us if we do not conform or go to the inconsistent beat of the crazy world. we worry about things that shouldn't be worried over and go completely against what Thoreau says.

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  145. @Emma--
    In order to keep simplicity and progress balanced, we must learn to single out time for reflection and relaxation. Progress is inevitable, but we must remember where importance in our lives really is.

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  146. Maria: You bring up an excellent point. I do agree that you are your toughest critique. But wouldn't you agree that sometimes your enemies are your critiques? However, I think that people place to much value in what others think of them. Going back to Thoreau, I think that he had overcome that boundary and no longer worried as much about what others thought of him. However, I do not think he was immune to it forever.

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  147. Life could be so much more when not bound be the limits of this planet on which we live.

    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." Carl Sagan

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  148. Whitney- Agreed! It is their loss. Nature has an abundance of things to "play" with. I find myself just staring at the trees and watching the animals live (creepy?-maybe) but its exciting. Is it our duty to change the world?

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  149. On page 243, Thoreau "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." This quote is my favorite quote in the text because it says how every person "dances to their own beat" and we need to embrace that. People today tend to pick out the "outcasts" in society and make them feel like the outcasts instead of excepting that they are different. I do not necessarily agree that a more fulfilling life is simpler because everyone has their own was that life i fulfilling. I like to be super busy in life and do many different things that I've never experienced before and also trying to do new things. Going with the quote, everyone "has their own beat."

    How does society contribute to "finding our own beat and ,if it does contribute, should it be a part in finding our own beat or shole we find it on our own?"

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  150. Lauren: I think society sort of shapes us and molds us into who we are. I think that as we grow up the world around us changes us. I think that taking in the experiences and lessons from society is beneficial. However, I don't think we can rely on society for this. We can only get the experience from society. The opinions MUST be our own.

    A passage that really stuck out to me was ..."Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rainstorms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon."(pg. 238)
    I really thought this was interesting because this idea seems so foreign to me. Even when it is a rainstorm I always think "I love the rain." But that is the extent. I never sit and enjoy it. I feel like I pass by things on a daily basis that if I just sat and enjoyed I would be much more at peace with myself. I think all people let the chaos get to them and take them over and the simple joys around them fade away. I think people could experience much more happiness if they saw these things. And I find it fascinating that it could be as simple as enjoying a rainstorm. With that, what are the important things in your life? What makes them important? What do you pass by that you wish you appreciated more? What does this mean to you?

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