Civil Disobedience: Inaugurating Thoreau

The Walden Walker, Henry David Thoreau, would be 200 years old this year (1817-2017) but his voice still rings young.

At this restless time in American history, when the nation sees its most unfit and unqualified President sworn in (in the name of God), it seems best to be reminded of the great wisdom from great minds, such as Thoreau.

In his immensely influential essay on Civil Disobedience (1849), he boldly states his resistance to the Slave State, irrationally stumbling toward civil war.  He’s standing up and speaking out against injustice and the madness of power.  It might be very good for us to read, to listen and to consider what each of us can do to obey Truth, Reason and Good faced with so much of the faith-based fakery that has seized the highest offices in the land.  In our day, we could think of “Slavery” as slavery to ignorance, selfishness and self-righteousness.

“A very few–as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and [human beings]–serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. . . .  He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish. . . .

How does it become a [person] to behave toward this American government today?. .  I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.”

“A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority.”

And, perhaps, my favorite passage in Civil Disobedience, on the higher search for truth:

“They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.”

In the next four years, while UnReason has its day,  I will be looking more to Nature seeking natural, reasonable truths, trying to climb up to the sources and springs, doing what I can to help others in these dark and uncertain times.

Thank you for the courage, the wisdom and the hope, Henry.

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2 thoughts on “Civil Disobedience: Inaugurating Thoreau

  1. What a great insight! Thank you, Henry — and Chris!!! Will be pulling out my copy this week. We need every source of inspiration possible. Thank you for this, in these times of testing

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