Menu Close

Henry David Thoreau : an influencer?

Henry David Thoreau, more than ever relevant today….

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

An essayist, teacher and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau (1817/1862) is also a naturalist and American poet. He is one of the precursors of Living Simply or Happy Frugality. His major work is “Walden or life in the woods”, published in 1854. In this book, Thoreau reflects on living a simple life, away from society, in a cabin, built deep in the woods. Talking of a “solitary revolt”, he proposes to put oneself at the centre of one’s life. He calls for turning disadvantages into advantages. He suggests looking for the positive in the negative. For him, it is important to make a celebration out of life. Thus, he refuses the “petty life”, turned towards false values. He opposes the consumer society which only remains to the surface and prefers appearances, worldliness, and salons with their neverending chitchats..

Above all, Walden can be interpreted as a life guide according to the classic ideal. Indeed, this essay challenges the reader to look at his life and to question its meaning .as Thoreau constantly seeks authenticity. For instance, the construction of his cabin described in details is a metaphor illustrating the constant building of one’s soul. In here, all the details about Walden (popup)

The design and construction of FloatYourHomeBerlin is also a building in search of the same authenticity advocated by Henry David Thoreau.

A Precursor to Disobedience and Ecology

In his book “Civil Disobedience” (1849), Henry DavidThoreau puts forward the idea of individual resistance to an unjust government. This book is at the origin of the contemporary concept of non-violence. Thoreau clearly opposes slavery: a courageous position before the American Civil War. Later, Thoreau will influence Gandhi as well as Martin Luther-King in their fights.

Nicknamed the “naturalist poet”, Henry David Thoreau is indeed an attentive observer of nature. In his final years, he studied seasons and botany. He wishes to replace man in his natural environment while surrending himself to nature and its laws. Thus, he calls to respect the environment against the then emerging industrialization. Many today consider Thoreau as a precursor of ecology and the movement of degrowth

Way before it was even fashionable, Thoreau is now seen as an influencer. He is one of the sources of inspiration of FloatYourHomeBerlin. Here is the summary of the itinerary of Henry David Thoreau (popup)

Quotations from Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Quote

“A man is rich in everything he doesn’t need”

“What’s the point of having a house if you don’t have an acceptable planet to put it on?”

“There are thousands of men who attack the branches of evil for one who attacks the root”

“Being awake is being alive”

“The criticist would even find fault in heaven”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *