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Walden, Selected Quotes, Part 1
(Henry David Thoreau)

I've found this book to be full of stunningly brilliant insight, and have pulled but a few of his phrases out for further reflection and contemplation.Walden, page 32 - 1st paragraph of the pageHe speaks of the "institutions" of man in the form of the price for civilization and the comforts of its advances. It raises the undeniable need to scale the worth of the institutions against its true dire price.1. The institution. Through technological advances in quality and comfortability, a government can raise monetary prices, which must generally speaking demand a lifetime of servitude; however, this also brings order. What are the implications of the price for order? Because the combined presence of numerous obligations and the time absorption of work (required to live with or in modern civil standards) keeps the attention or focus of the individual unmoving from whats immediately required, the mind, imagination, or true inner aspirations and higher cognitions are kept walled off; the power and strength of the true self shimmering in a dark well, the walls made of social prejudices unquestioned, the depth evergrowing, and the signal of light receding into the despair of undiscovered existence.2. Is the seeming progression of society worth the blunt denial of self-realization that has subtlely pervaded the larger part of the civil body's mind?First to be addressed, whats true progression of soceity, for how can the question be evaluated and answered if the knowledge of one of the to-be-weighed factors is unknown, or incorrect?Society is the sum of all political factions, the system of government, the social traditions and taboos, and those unspoken customs that largely affect the true nature of a civil body. Ideally, a perfect society would bestow the utmost civil (individual) rights while maintaining an order that in no way lessens or denies those rights. Now, the nature of the individual: lets start with Aristotle's proposal of consciousness and press onward from there. From sense perception arises memory, and from memory, experience. Now the human applies his faculties of reason to these experiences and from it arives with art. art - the application of universal knowledge thats gained by the observation of transient similarities among experiences. From here, it seems an art hierarchy of sorts must be constructed. Those arts that are created from the higher or greater applications of thought are of greater worth than those of lesser application. The more the mind abandons subjects tied to temporary or physical elements and the further it travels into the realm of its own - art, absolute values, ideal, emotions - the greater the application of thought. So, the greater the use of the mind, the more of the true-self discovered, and with this spark of enlightened awarement intensifying, the more dormant potential is actualized.In return to society: these things have been expounded upon because to know true progression means that the goal of such progression must be identified. To grant the utmost civil rights is to set an environment for wholly unrestrained exploration by the mind, and in doing so, the civil body would surge with the life created by all actualizing their true desires and thoughts, and the contributions of this atmosphere of individuality would bring about reforms unseen in the past, to say the very least. Why? The nature of said reforms: should everyone relinquish their prejudices - restraints - then all would thirst and feed off of those things only essential to man's character(mind and soul). So the pursuits would embody eternity, and in truth we would break the binds of mortality.In conclusion the present "take" or reach for social/civil progression is off the mark; we are moving towards something, but that something is only some very small fraction of the true goal itself. In answer to the primary question, our seeming progression cannot even be compared to its price, for it cannot even be classified as progion. In truth, we have been and continue to pay an inconceivably terrible price that can never be returned...a crime that cannot be forgiven. The only hope now is to redetermine and realign the trajectory of humanity, and begin plotting an unfailingly determined course for the truth.

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