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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To live dimly (Bronk)

The art of life, he felt, was not having anything to do, to do something. He felt that a man's employment should be of his own choosing. This was directly opposed to the practice and belief, or at least profession, of his neighbors, most of whom would have claimed that their inclination was to walk too, if they had the time. They neither shared nor understood his freedom, his feeling of nothing to do in the world. His neighbors were like the visitor at Walden who told Thoreau, one of the poorest men in Concord, that that was the way he would live "if he could afford to".... They were aware without being told so that much of their lives was trivial and apparently meaningless, but they saw no freedom from it and they liked better to be told of some remote or some future meaning it might somewhere or some day have. They were willing to live dimly in the present, if need be, and hope for reward in old age or in heaven.

William Bronk, from "Silence and Henry Thoreau"

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