Have you ever read “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau?
In it- in the first chapter- he has a revolutionary sentence. the kind of sentence that embeds itself in your subconscious and presents itself at the most random of times. But in those times you are reminded of what you are doing and have some of the clearest thinking imaginable. It is this paragraph that probably will inform the rest of my life, as the realization that most of us live in a fog of accidental happenings that start and end our lives. Here is the quote, see if you can spot the sentence:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”
Did you catch it?
Is it inspirational to you?
Is your life changed?
It’s the first sentence. “…I wished to live deliberately…”. I think this is what informs my life in a red-ball-fainting-goat or crash-your-drone-into-a-garage sort of way. It jolts me, paralyzes me, and gets my thoughts going IN A GOOD WAY. Sometimes, almost an absurd and comical way…like those videos.
If I am asked what I want out of life, it is that I want to live deliberately.
I don’t want life to just happen. I want life to matter. To have meaning. To have things that surpass economic or cultural norms. Meaning that I think a lot of our life is defined by those two things.
Economics and Culture. Which are further determined by our worldview.
I teach critical thinking. I love teaching it. It is also what every high school graduate lacks. I think I know part of the reason for this and it is the fact that from parents the educational piece of a child life has been abdicated to their various fractured participations. For almost everything in life we have abdicated reponsilbity away from who should be responsible to for it besides the actual person.
The religious parent relies on the church, mosque, synagogues to teach their kids religion.
The school aged child is supposed to be “educated at school”.
If we think that young people are not taking responsibility for their own religion, education or interests…we might consider looking only to the parens- ourselves as the source of this.
Worldview embracing demands that we accept and label our Worldview. In turn, we become critical thinkers about our underlying presuppositions.
Thoreau’s quote reminds me that what is needed is kids, students, and religious people who are taught how-to-think and not what-to-think. This is the essence of a deliberate life. A deliberate life acknowledges it’s own worldview and embraces it. It acknowledges its limits and limitations.
We have a habit in Postmodern culture to reject worldview….but we all have one.
Rather, this blog will look at current worldview and embrace them for what they are. Always with an eye to critically thinking about them.
It is answering the fundamental question of what do we want instead of what we have. It is what we do instead of what we observe. It is what we actually choose to learn instead of what we are taught. It is what we are doing instead of what we are based on our past.
“I wished to live deliberately”- I am going to do this.
The title of this blog represents exactly this. Often times we are so stuck among the trees that we miss the Forest for the Trees.
This Blog is my attempt at Searching for the Forest.
It seems that Thoreau wanted to limit his choices. Civilization creates an abundance of choices and the problem is that dissatisfaction also increases. That’s the cause of consumerism today and it perpetuates itself; more choices, less satisfaction, more shopping and searching!
Yes, I agree. that will definitely be a part of this blog as well. I will write more about this later when I have a second.