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Henry David Thoreau and Transcendentalism Philosophy

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Abstract

Thoreau represented transcendentalist writers that were sure that the humanity lives too fast. In addition, they also believed that it is becoming excessively compound. He thought that as people’s lives turn out to be more complex, they miss the entire and real sense of their lives.

Besides, Thoreau thought that the "The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way, are all are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim" (Thoreau, 1904). He also supported the idea that the single key to solving this dilemma was an unbending economy, a severe straightforwardness of life, and altitude of an idea. Furthermore, Thoreau believed in unfussiness in administration and that the best administration is the one does not govern at all.

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Thoreau's Philosophy and its Relevance to our Times and our Life

Obviously, one can agree with Thoreau's idea of living simply. However, living as plain as one desires is hardly realistic in the modern world. In fact, it is almost impossible to agree with the statement that the government which does not govern at all is a really good government. The reason for that is that human nature is intrinsically evil; therefore, it needs to be under authority. This shows people that government is rather important in the modern life. Taking a look at Thoreau’s belief of simple living from the biblical point of view, one can surely agree with it.

The other reason to agree with the philosophy of Thoreau that concerns living simply is the allowance for a person to do what he or she really cares about to the best of his or her ability. If a person is going to live simply, then he or she has to define his/her priorities and actually consider what he/she will do in his/her life. It is so important, because anything he/she does not think to be worth the time or is needless, should not be done at all.

Even though it is not so hard to agree with Thoreau's vision of living simply, it is not practical or actual in today's world. In order to achieve something, a person has to use skills and knowledge that cause difficulties in his/her life. He/she cannot stay away from complicating his/her life to some degree if he/she plans to make an impact.

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Summary

One more reason to think that this theory is not so much possible in the modern world is the lack of the places, where a person can live simply since people always have to go somewhere, for instance, to work, school, university, etc. This is why people in today’s world cannot follow the suggestions made by Thoreau. Thoreau's vision of government is rather controversial, because people are entirely decadent, and they need to have an authority in order to avoid chaos. Since the authority is biblically based, one can state that it is necessary and good.

Although people must be governed, it should be vigilant not to manage over redundant things since that only waste both money and time. On the whole, Thoreau's idea of living simply is right and even biblical. Even though it is so controversial in the modern world, it has its pros and cons. Surely, it is the right idea and decision to live simply, and perhaps it would make people’s lives much easier. However, it cannot be used in the society and the world today. To sum up, Thoreau’s philosophy is good, but not relevant to our times and our life.

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