Thursday, July 12, 2007

In Memoriam: Henry David Thoreau

Today is Thursday, 12 July 2007.

Henry David (originally David Henry, but he chose the reversal) Thoreau, born on this day in 1817. Only ten years short now of the Thoreau Bicentennial, surely more of value than that 1976 thing.

I meant to write today about Lady Bird, but one can't do that without also writing about Lyndon. And so I'm struggling with writing a column about both LBJs, the Vietnam War, the 1846 Conquest of Mexico which Thoreau opposed, and its relation to the Vietnam War, and Thoreau himself, and, oh, one must throw "McCarthyism" into the mix, and the Cold War, and my own personal involvements and feelings ... You can see why it will take me until tomorrow to get such a "and the kitchen sink too" column sorted out.

So, for the moment: "To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Walden

Also, the great humanist Desiderius Erasmus died this date, 1536. I have more reservations about Erasmus than Thoreau. The former pulled too many punches, but then, he lived in a time when one still could get burnt at the stake for being cross-eyed, and thus a tool of the devil, so perhaps one should not judge too harshly.


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