Thoreau Taught Us How to Create a Better World, but Few Listened

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Thoreau Taught Us How to Create a Better World, but Few Listened Imagine what the look on 19th century writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau's face would be if he were transported to present day America. Now, if Thoreau thought that "export[ing] ice, talk[ing] through a telegraph, and rid[ing] thirty miles an hour" was superfluous, envision what he would think of our modern society (Thoreau excerpt). He would gasp at air conditioning and refrigeration, feel faint when he saw a computer or learned of the internet, then fall over from a heart attack when he went for a ride in an airplane. Because our society has become obsessed with perfection and improvement, very few of us today follow Thoreau's teachings. We are not satisfied when something is good; it must be perfect. We have contests searching for the perfect singing voice or the perfect body. We create technologies to improve our lives and make things easier. However, in our search for perfection, have we lost sight of what was perfect? Thoreau wanted us to see that we already have perfection. He wanted us to see the beauty of ourselves and of nature. All of the details and luxuries that we have become so obsessed with distract us from the true magnificence of life. We have become so caught up in the struggle to reach perfection that we never stop to question what the purpose is. That was Thoreau's biggest objection. He did not understand why we waste our time with pointless jobs and rituals just to fit in with what society has deemed as suitable. Instead of improving things around us, he believed we should think about how to improve ourselves. Thoreau wanted us to think about the consequences of working, and how it affects our happiness or our family. We work hard to make a better life for ourselves, but in the process we forget our own needs. The reason Thoreau was so opposed to detail was that he experienced life without it. He separated himself from all modern society and civilization, "a move...
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