Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fishing and Anarchy

"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." -Henry David Thoreau

If only we could take some of our high school courses again as young adults. I think I would have had a greater appreciation for Thoreau, and possibly have retained more information from the American Lit course during my sophomore year of high school. (While I do remember discussing Thoreau's hermitage at Walden pond, Poe's litany of poems, my despise for the unending metaphors contained in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, my most distinct memory is my teacher's strange obsession with a poem discussing the beauty of a woman's forearm... information that in no way positively pigmented my education.)

However, I do remember Thoreau's reputation as being a nonconformist, escaping the pressures and monotony of mainstream life. Though occasionally viewed as an anarchist for his resistance to the institution of power in the United States, Thoreau's criticism of the government simply showcases the desire for improvement innate to the innovators of all society since the dawn of time.
"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"
-Henry David Thoreau
Feeling a persistent sense of discontentment and the desire to forge forward in new directions can often seem like ungrateful restlessness, but those who have striven constantly for more are those that we best remember as the great innovators of time. No great change or evolution has occurred without something, or someone daring to break the mold.

While I don't fashion myself the person that will change the world, I do, in regards to my own life, feel a sense of Thoreau's nature in my blood. I ask for, not at once no stability, but at once better stability.

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