Thoreau

Quote from a friend’s blog, I need to get the specific reference.

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way. The very simplicity and nakedness of man’s life in the primitive ages imply this advantage, at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature. When he was refreshed with food and sleep, he contemplated his journey again. He dwelt, as it were, in a tent in this world, and was either threading the valleys, or crossing the plains, or climbing the mountain-tops. But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer; and he who stood under a tree for shelter, a housekeeper. We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven. We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agriculture. We have built for this world a family mansion, and for the next a family tomb. The best works of art are the expression of man’s struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten.”

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4 thoughts on “Thoreau

  1. “We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agriculture.”

    What does this mean? I’m missing something…

  2. Thoreau was very displeased with “Christianity” he was in the middle of the unitarian debate at harvard. He distrusted doctrine(as he distrusted those who taught the doctrine and the bible) and sought to experiene God indvidualy through experience. Though I think his views on christianity were misplaced he has offered a good jar to perspective. When he says “We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agriculture.” he means that instead of christianity leading them to divinity it was merely a tool to keeps people from feeling meaningless so they can be productive.
    I ask myself that today does my Christianity look like that? Do I say “do everything as unto the Lord” without also asking what and how much am I doing? Later he says that the Negro slaves are better off than the northern workers. The negro slaves have harsh drivers, but it is worse to have a northern master because it is you. That question hits home with America , “Globalism” and more so the “health wealth and prosperity gospel” that America sometimes exports.

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