The message of simple living exemplified by Henry David Thoreau in his classic Walden, or Life in the Woods is even more needed today than when it was first written in 1854. Thoreau challenges us to look honestly at how we can scale back our lifestyles in or order to save our time and energy for what is most important. And, of course, he was right. With virtually everything we want literally at our fingertips, the more prosperous we grow, the more critical it is that we learn to discern between those things that will truly bring us happiness and fulfillment and possessions which can become distractions or burdens. Learn from Thoreau how to simplify your life and experience the freedom it brings!
Themes: simplicity; frugality; nature; friendship; self-education; materialism; happiness
Read: “Economy” and “Reading” Sections; Walden free online
Principle: Material possessions can become burdens which rob our peace.
1- What is simplicity? Is it important? How can you find the balance between having enough and having too much?
2- Why does Thoreau engage in his “experiment”? What does he learn?
3- How does education play a role in Thoreau’s message? Why does he discuss it?