Tuesday, October 12, 2010

yay reading

So P.S. my group is reading Gulliver's Travels.

Also P.S., I think it would be most excellent if assignments were posted on the course, under both "calendar" and "assignments", because that's the intuitive place to look and I was quite confused for a bit until I remembered someone had mentioned it was on the blog. Just, you know, for consistency's sake, it would be super great :)

So, I looked up background about "Walden" and such, and I had to read it both for AP English in high school and for Honors 150 a few years ago, and I have yet to be impressed by any of it.

Concept: A guy took a break from his life to think about things, and that's awesome, but I personally feel that I think about things sufficiently on my own WHILE doing practical things such as studying and working.

I tend to be a high energy, intense person when I'm interested in something. The concept of taking time off to relax this way seems like the product of a mind who didn't take sufficient time to ponder while also being productive in real life. I can understand the urge to go be by yourself for a while and figure things out, and I can understand wanting to write it down to help de-muddle things in your mind, but I'm trying to understand why everyone else paid attention.

I suppose he's a good writer, and he thought things through, but don't you all do this anyway in your own head? I bounce these ideas off people around me all the time, and then I go out and apply them in real life. I check to see if they work, and if they don't, I change my mind about things. Eventually I've narrowed it down to something I feel pretty confident in. In the meantime, I'm not all passive-aggressive about avoiding people and this one person per square mile thing.

It's so frustrating to me that people revere him.

Thoreau evidently had his own need to go out and avoid civilization for a while, do it on his own for a while. Evidently other people get something out of this. That's great. Maybe his thought changed the whole course of Western civilization. But in my case, it's just not personally enlightening. And you know what? That's all OK. And one day, I will also graduate and I can go read interesting authors like Ayn Rand. That's OK too.

(I realized that I kinda had this attitude about the last author I mentioned, and this is a bit atypical. Evidently the Romantic movement and I do not agree. I will try to not be so angsty in the future, because I suspect no one enjoys annoyed blog posts. :)

1 comment:

  1. I felt the angst. I agree with the points about Thoreau's individualism. I have trouble connecting with all his ideas. However, I think the coolest thing about Walden is how he eliminated all the outside distractions.
    I feel like Pres. Uchtdorf hit on this idea in conference. Times are stressful, and they will only get more stressful. We need to constantly re-evaluate life, and to make that evaluation we need to eliminate distractions and listen. Thoreau needed Walden Pond for a couple years. Depending upon one's relationship with God, it could take more or less time.