To Want But Little

March 16th, 2013 | By


In Walden, Thoreau talks a lot about why he has chosen to isolate himself from society for the two years two months and two days he spent in the woods.

He says his “greatest skill has been to want but little.” While his friends went “unhesitatingly into the trade or the professions,” he spent time exploring his transcendental inclinations. He realized that one can live very well, and arguably better, without all the luxuries that have become culturally commonplace.

I first read Walden when I was 17. I loved it and resonated deeply with its ideas. My family was going through some serious challenges at that time which helped me realize how much I valued a peaceful life.

I recently downloaded the audio version of Walden through a website called Librivox (which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever found online), and, as I listen to it again, It’s clear that I’ve become even more of a transcendentalist since high school. I care even less about owning stuff then I did back then. I yearn for simplicity even more. I’ve spent years outside of the United States, and have lived in every time zone within it. These experiences have taught me that I, like Thoreau, want but little.

In fact, the only possession I would be excited to own right now would be a one bedroom shanty. Walden style.


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