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0 Walden and Civil Disobedience | Opinião

Walden and Civil DisobedienceThe oft-quoted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for two works: Walden and Civil Disobedience. First published in 1854, Walden documents the time Thoreau spent living with nature in a hand-built cabin in the woods near Walden Pond in Massachusetts. A minor work in its own time,Walden burgeoned in popularity during the countercultural movement of the 1960s. Civil Disobedience is thought to have originated after Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay taxes to a government with whose policies he did not agree. Assigning greater importance to the conscience of the individual than the governing law, Civil Disobedience is an internationally admired work that is known to have influenced writer Leo Tolstoy and political activist Mahatma Gandhi, and many members of the American Civil Rights Movement. Now available together in one chic and affordable edition as part of the Word Cloud Classics series, Walden and Civil Disobedience makes an attractive addition to any library.


Autor: Henry David Thoreau
Editor: Canterbury Classics
Páginas: 266


opinião
★★★★
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Escritos no século XIX, tanto Walden (Walden ou a Vida nos Bosques) como Civil Disobedience (A Desobediência Civil) continuam a fazer todo o sentido à luz dos conhecimentos e experiência que adquirimos ao longo de mais de século e meio de tempo decorrido.



Ao partilhar connosco a sua experiência nos bosques de Walden, onde viveu dois anos isolado, Thoreau pretende mostrar-nos uma via alternativa; uma outra forma de viver, mais conscienciosa e em harmonia tanto connosco como com a Natureza. Quebrando a normalidade, contrariando o rumo dos hábitos sociais e apontando os inimigos da vida moral (governo e industrialismo), Thoreau deixa-nos, no mínimo, a pensar na forma como conduzimos as nossas vidas.

Ao longo da narrativa, o escritor aborda os vários elementos que constituem ou contribuem largamente para a nossa existência, focando o que é essencial e condenando num tom veemente o que não o é, o que devemos procurar activamente e do que nos devemos afastar. Assim, o livro adquire um tom crítico e moralista enquanto Thoreau foca temas como o materialismo, a ânsia pelo luxo, o consumismo, o vestuário, a alimentação, a convivência social, a relação com a Natureza, a importância de uma consciência ecológica, a necessidade de sucesso pessoal, a filantropia e a literatura, salientando como as nossas prioridades estão trocadas.

Gostei muito deste livro, mas não posso dizer que me tenha agradado de forma homogénea. Apesar da beleza da prosa e das interessantes associações históricas e mitológicas, houve capítulos em Walden nos quais Thoreau se torna mais descritivo do seu quotidiano e da sua observação da fauna e flora locais... e em que eu, infelizmente, acabei por me distrair um bocadinho.

Em Walden, Thoreau incita-nos a simplificar a vida e à auto-descoberta, enquanto que em Civil Disobedience assume um tom mais agressivo para partilhar as suas preocupações políticas, os seus argumentos contra o governo (e respectiva forma de actuar) e o seu pensamento anti-capitalista. Apontando as injustiças sociais da sua altura (a ilegalidade da guerra contra o México, a campanha militar americana, a escravatura, ...), Thoreau questiona a democracia na configuração em que esta se lhe apresentava, preocupando-se com a verdade, a liberdade e a igualdade.

Não posso dizer que concordo a 100% com Thoreau, principalmente quando lhe denoto alguma hipocrisia ou inocência. Concordo, sim, que precisamos de encontrar uma maneira diferente de ocupar este nosso Mundo e gostei imenso da eloquência e da forma inspiradora como Thoreau nos fala, dando-nos muito em que pensar e muito que discutir. Desagradavelmente sentencioso, Thoreau investe contra a música, a educação, a sabedoria dos mais velhos, o sal e até o café... não deixando de fazer também comentários à família e aos amigos.  Não gostei do exagero e puritanismo com que se nos apresenta sobre alguns tópicos, adquirindo um tom arrogante, antipatizando com tudo e todos, proscrevendo radicalmente os mais diversos apetites humanos. Há, no entanto, muita sabedoria em Walden e em Civil Disobedience e penso que é nisso que nos devemos focar nesta leitura.



Frases Preferidas
Walden
But men labor under a mistake (...) laying up treasures wich moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before. - 5

He has no time to be anything but a machine. - 5

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. - 5

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate. - 6

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity - 6

It is never too late to give up our prejudices - 7

One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels. - 8

Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strenght - 9

There Are Nowadays Professors of Philosophy, but not Philosophers - 11

No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes: yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience. - 16

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. - 17

While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. - 25

The luxury of one class is counterbalanced by the indigence of another. - 25

The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage. - 29

They should not play life, or study it merely (...), but earnestly live it from beginning to end. - 37

To survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar. - 37

Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. - 42

It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil - 49

Persevere, even if the world call it doing evil, as it is most likely they will - 53

It may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. - 55

for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things wich he can afford to let alone - 60

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 practise 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 - 67

all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike. In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident. - 73

The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity. - 74

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise - 74

Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. - 74

A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips;- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself. - 75

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. - 75 

I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself. - 96

I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced. - 96

Nothing can rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness. - 96

I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. - 98

However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you. - 99

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. (…) I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. - 99

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations. - 126

Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized. - 159

The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. - 159

The wonder is how they, how you and I, can live this slimy, beastly life, eating and drinking. - 161

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. - 161

to some extent, our very life is our disgrace. - 162

We need the tonic of wildness - 232

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. - 232

We need to witness our own limits transgressed - 232

Compassion is a very untenable ground. It must be expeditious. Its pleadings will not bear to be stereotyped. - 232

The universe is wider than our views of it. - 234

Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continent sand worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice. Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less. They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads. - 235

A saner man would have found himself often enough "in formal opposition "to what are deemed "the most sacred laws of society," through obedience to yet more sacred laws, and so have tested his resolution without going out of his way. - 236

A living dogis better than a dead lion. - 238

Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made. - 238

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. - 239

The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode - 240

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. - 241

The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star. - 243

Civil Disobedience

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? - 247

the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. - 247

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. - 248

Law never made men a whit more just - 248

All voting is a sort of gaming (…), a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions ; (…) The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. - 251

There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. - 252

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? - 254

it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn. - 254

For it matters not how small the beginning may seen to be: what is once well done is done forever - 256

Cast yor whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence - 256

A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority - 256

Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvemente possible in government? - 266


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