A Jump Right In
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
-Excerpt from "Economy"
Maybe I should climb it. My grade went on a field trip to Walden Pond to learn more about Thoreau. We yearned to experience more of what Thoreau experienced during his time at Walden Pond.
We started the day visiting a replica of his cabin. It was very interesting to see how simply he lived. The whole chapter of "Economy" is about living off only the necessities of life. Thoreau's house was not where it originally was but we saw what it was like. He had a bed, desk and wood stove. The very basic things need. He would only need the wood stove it the winter because of the strategic placement of his house. Thoreau showed many people across the world with his experiment that you could live a life of joy off the basic necessities of life.
After visiting the house we had time to sit around the pond and write for ten minutes. I got into the zone and wrote three haikus about the beauty of the pond. I was amazed by the reflection on the Pond. It resembled a painting on a canvas, with all the colors of fall. I sat and thought for a while, watching people skip stones and realized the reflection was shattered but then restored, I thought this would be good to write about. I wrote three haiku and here they are
Only broken by a ripple
It stays calm
Is halted by machines
But never defeated
Like a painting
After some walking around the pond I spotted a tree. I decided I would climb it and get some pictures. A few more kids tried until Mr.Trotsky told us to get down, until immediately Fitz told us to climb higher. Jack Eames took that as a challenge and hung up side down on a branch. I decided to climb higher and had a great time, and struggle getting down.
Overall this was one of my favorite trips at Fenn. I learned much about Thoreau and how he lived. I also had fun swimming, climbing and reflecting. I hope to revisit Walden one day to experience it again.
This trip let us experience Walden Pond and how Thoreau lived. It helped me understand more of Walden and I began to not only understand Walden, but experience the book. It allowed me to understand "Economy."
Life is much simpler then one may think. Many material things that you have, you do not actually need, and Thoreau describes this in "Economy." Things such as a fancy vase or a new pair of clothes, is not something you need. These things often bring more stress than pleasure. Thoreau talks about this very much in his chapter "Economy" in Walden. He says people think they need a house like their neighbors, when really you don't.
“Like shipwrecked sailors, they put on what they can find on the beach, and at a little distance, whether of space or time, laugh at each other's masquerade. Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new…”
(Thoreau Walden "Economy")
Simplicity was probably the biggest theme in "Economy", and another theme is Thoreau's views on philanthropy.
Often times philanthropy is over praised. In "Economy" Thoreau describes how people should learn to help themselves,many people who need immediate help should get help. People nowadays want to do good, for them, but not for others. They don't necessarily help those who need help, but those who want help. In the part of "Economy" where Thoreau writes about the Fallacy of Philanthropy Thoreau talks about the flaws in “Good-Doing." He says people need to help themselves, rather than get un-needed help.
“As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full. Moreover, I have tried it fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.”- (Thoreau- “Fallacy of Philanthropy” *Walden)
Thoreau's view on philanthropy were very radical and some may not agree, but as Thoreau wrote “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.” -Excerpt From: "Economy"
There are many things to take away from "Economy", because so many points Thoreau had, are still valid today. One of my favorite ideas Thoreau had was that people should help themselves, if they can help themselves. The main thing to take away from "Economy" however, is simplicity, because in a world of electronics and expensive objects, we need to realize that living simply will change the world for the better
In conclusion, reading "Economy" made me think deeper and begin to realize many things. “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
Excerpt From: Walden "Economy"