So much imagery used as allegory, to the point of much of it going past the reader the first two or three times one reads this book. Which ones stick to you will be different. Here’s the ones I can’t forget:
1) The description of pure joy at standing at the end of a rainbow. I could literally feel the rain on my skin, see the colors of the sun, and feel the sense of containment. Happy place for certain.
2) The black and red ant conflict. Such intense detail about the competition for resources, the life and death struggle, and ferocity of nature. Real cycle of life stuff. Almost… He just gets up and walks away. Who emerged as a victor is completely uninteresting to him. Before I read Walden, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Now I understand why he got up and walked away and, more importantly, share the same sensibilities about it.
3) Ice. On and on did he go about ice. Color. Shape. Who. What. Where. How. When. You name it. He vary subtly uses it as a lens through which to apply and communicate his worldview. You won’t realize that until you’re about 20 pages into it though…
Interestingly, I don’t have a single highlight from any of those sections of the book.
Need to reflect on that.
I was surprised at the overlap between his principals and that of the classic Stoics. Seneca, et al, could have written this word for word:
“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is.”
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He does take it further. To the point of advocating:
“Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.”
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I think he’d spontaneously combust if he wandered into a Walmart.
Together we stand athwart the modern consumerism culture.
Together we both know we will loose for not all will choose to walk a different path.
Yet we are both content to get up and walk away.
“Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then.”
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