A Simple Kind Of Man

Anarchist Quotes Henry David Thoreau quotes

There are, I suppose by definition, as many individualist philosophies as there are individualists. And there are, I suppose, almost as many individualists who never wrote a word about their philosophies – neither did any of their admirers or followers, assuming they had or wanted any, write down or record in any tangible medium their wisdom or the story of their lives. Not everyone, particularly, cares enough about other people, or society, or certainly not about civilization, to bother.

But the transcendentalists were on a mission, and were oddly and somewhat ironically a cult of sorts, and they loved to spread their ideas, via the long lectures that people loved in the 19th century, and via even longer essays, books, and magazine articles. They were highly educated, many were well off, and they loved hanging out with other like-minded believers.

They were not just intellectual dilettantes however; they were very active in the antislavery movement and helped many slaves escape and gain their freedom, some were influential in politics and of course publishing, and some, like Henry David Thoreau, practiced what he preached, mostly by avoiding other people as much as possible, spending as much time away from civilization, spending as much time as possible with nature, and disobeying as many laws and societal norms as possible. And, thankfully for us, writing as much as possible.

And he was a very good writer indeed. Perhaps even more than Emerson, his ideas are still popular today, and he influenced many others including Gandhi and Tolstoy. Let’s find out if, and why, his ideas are still useful 160 years after his death in the comments!

Minimalist Philosophy:



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