"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." "Wealth is the ability to fully experience life." "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm" "Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify." "If a man constantly aspires is he not elevated?" "Being is the great explainer." "The universe is wider than our views of it." "Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau.... Sometimes we may take the man on the "Strike at The Root" masthead forgranted. The subtle yet powerful influence of Henry David Thoreau probably remains his greatest creation. The books, journals and manuscripts, his written observations, impressive as they may be, somehow seem secondary to that influence. Instead, his personal life, his optimism, his highly individualistic code, his philosophy of introspection, his childlike delight in even the simplest forms of life, his belief that God and man were aligned through nature, his resistance to the dictates of society or the state, his outspokeness against the abuses of power, have had a far more profound effect on modern opinion than that of any other American writer. Just as Walden inspired the environmental movement more than a century after it was written, the essay, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” effected a worldwide range of rights movements over the past 150 years—too many to count–spanning abolition and civil rights to include the antiwar, draft and tax resistance movements today. This single essay, Civil Disobedience, inspired such diverse thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Tolstoy, Gandhi and, most recently, Martin Luther King. Not surprisingly, it is not required reading in high school. Tolstoy, who influenced Gandhi, was deeply taken by Thoreau and yet noticed the general indifference of mercantile Americans to the idea of civil rights in the Nineteenth Century. Wrote Sanderson Beck, “Leo Tolstoy…asked Americans why they did not pay more attention to Thoreau’s ideas instead of their financial and industrial millionaires and their generals and admirals.”
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