Thoreau Thursday

img_2300“When the thermometer is down to 20, the streams of thought tinkle underneath like the rivers under the ice. Thought like the ocean is nearly of one temperature. Ideas, — are they the fishes of thought?

Poetry implies the whole truth. Philosophy expresses a particle of it.

Would you see your mind, look at the sky. Would you know your own moods, be weather-wise. He whom the weather disappoints, disappoints himself.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Journal, January 26, 1852.
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Thoreau’s famous essay “Civil Disobedience” was initially and rather obscurely published under the title “Resistance to Civil Government” in 1849. “I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.” It was the duty of citizens, he argued, to resist when government caused injustice. Here’s where he broke real ground: his definition of resistance was broad, encompassing the defense of fellow citizens and as those who were outside citizenship. In the late 1840s, this included slaves, the Mexicans being killed by Polk’s war for the expansion of slavery, and the continuing genocide against Native Americans. But Thoreau went even further, extending his sense of the ethical community to the non-human, the world. We now call this environmentalism, arising from the science of ecology, which literally means the study of home.

2 Responses to “Thoreau Thursday”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb January 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Yet who needs real trees when we can look at something much like real ones on our big-screen televisions? And we can be distracted by our sports spectacles and our NASCAR season tickets? As long as we have our bread and circuses, abstract things like justice are not important. Entertain me and you can enslave me.


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