Friday, August 24, 2012

A Sub-Conscious Trap

I am reading Walden by Thoreau. Some lines that struck out for me tonight were:

"The farmer is endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself. To get his shoestrings he speculates in herds of cattle. With consummate skill he has set his trap with a hair spring to catch comfort and independence, and then, as he turned away, got his own leg into it. This is the reason he is poor; and for a similar reason we are all poor in respect to a thousand savage comforts, though surrounded by luxuries."

It's poignant yet quite simple. If you look at the essence, it's quite ironic that a farmer would be poor even in terms of food. Yet we see that all the time, throughout the world. From Timbuktu to Kathmandu to Mississippi.

For that is the farmer's business, the production of food. Yet he is in poverty of the very thing he so toils in. 

Thoreau rightly points out here that the farmer is trying to over-complicate the problem of his livelihood. Why only make corn? Or only soybeans? Or Oranges? With the land, toil to make food for oneself and the family first then go to the market and beyond.

Now, the fair thing to do is apply this same principle on one's thoughts. Where has one trapped one's own leg, when the trap was meant to catch comfort and independence for oneself?

I would not be surprised if you looked at yourself deeper and further, you would find at least one. Every day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Beatles and Henry David Thoreau

The Beatles and Henry David Thoreau

I was contemplating the Beatles and particularly this song "I'm so tired" and Thoreau and particularly his quote on deliberate living.

The Beatles progressed rock music and their innovations are still used in melody and in mixing studios.
They also wrote this lovely tune called "I'm so tired." John Lennon really subjects you to hear his feelings. I have found out that I can actually sing this tune to my satisfaction and an upload is in order. I have only played it once and I like the result already. I guess, I really know how it is to be tired.


Henry David Thoreau in this quote refers to going to the woods to find the essence of living. Even before really reading this quote, I had decided to do the same thing but customize it to modern times. I feel that I am still verging towards the essence and the journey towards "what is essential" is not complete yet. It is just an experiment for now as I am doing other things regarding my career and other learning experiences. This is the main reason I have deactivated Facebook and I am keeping in touch with my friends and family over text, skype, email and games (odd but true).

"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 practice 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, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." -- Walden;  or, "Life in the Woods --Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"


Oddly enough, before I wrote this post, I thought these two art pieces were disjointed and I would be writing a random piece about two random pieces of art.

There is a connection. In this version of "I'm so tired", the song's essence is more visible. It is more raw while the urgency in John Lennon's voice is still fresh. Much like Thoreau's quote, one can be tired yet not so tired as to "practice resignation." Once you acknowledge that you are tired, you get more relaxed or find outlets to get more relaxed. 

Thoreau went further. To get to the "marrow of life", one cannot simply understand and be foolishly happy and self-satisfied. One has to experience it, even for a little bit. After all, "living is so dear." Life indeed is.