Thoreau Lived by His Own Advice

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Thoreau Encouraged Individualism and Lived by His Own Advice Thoreau presents the idea of individualism in his essays “Civil Disobedience” and “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”. He presents the idea that as individuals we cannot allow the government or the rest of society direct and determine how our lives are lived. He also discusses avoiding minor trivial details and superficial ideas that complicate our lives. Thoreau’s essays allow us to reflect on our own life, to see how truly individual we are and how components of our life affect us and our way of living. Thoreau accuses society for being responsible for consuming the identity of people by preoccupying them with small details and of life, such as the government unjustly using people because they do not know anything different than to obey and conform. The government and society have taken over intellect and conscience, taking individualism as well. This lack of individualism and increased complexity of living is even more true in our world today than it was when Thoreau wrote these essays with concern about it. With technology booming the way it is and will continue to, people’s lives become more complicated and more is expected from them. They are being taken over by detail and spreading attention over many responsibilities instead of being able to focus on a few. Today, Thoreau’s writing on simplifying people’s lives and minds, and keeping a moral obligation to one’s self, is a key aspiration to being an individual. Thoreau presents these points in “Civil Disobedience” through an analysis of the government and its relationship to people under their control. He believes that the government and society infringe on the personal rights and thoughts of individuals by imposing taxes and laws that can violate an individual’s morality. He believes, “that government is best, which governs least.” (Civil

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