I’ve read Walden a couple of times in some of my favorite classes. Every time it has been a chapter here, a couple paragraphs there, etc. As Cordell said, it is dense and that first chapter can seem as dry as the bark on those trees in Concord. However…
I’m pretty excited to discuss it with the spin of technologies of text. It’ll be quite a different context than I’m used to for this book, but it realizing how it still applies. I really like Thoreau’s style and way of thinking. I agree with him when he emphasizes that keeping things simple is the preferable way to live. He points out that the basic needs of life include food, shelter, clothing, and fuel. So what are we supposed to take from this as a class? In the other classes that I’ve studied Walden in, we’ve talked about the value of going back to our fundamentals. One could argue that TEI or HTML are our fundamentals here, but to the basic web browser, it’s not necessarily essential to understand those things to get the complete your standard internet search. However, I can now appreciate and understand that just because I can search the internet, read pages, search specific names in those coded pages, it doesn’t mean that I’m self-reliant. I can try to appreciate the work that goes into what we know now as the internet.
Maybe another point we can take away as a class is that we need to remember the simple fundamental reasons why we use technologies today. Maybe these fundamental reasons connect to our simple needs in life? As humans, we need communication? I guess one could set up and learn about realty (shelter) online? We have to still live life in this century and use the tools we’re given, such as the internet, to “become one of the worthies of the world.” Sure it’s not living out in the nature on the berries and hunting squirrels, but I think we can take the privilege of internet and our modern technologies and utilize them for the fundamental needs of human nature, rather than abuse them.
One of my favorite quotes from Economy:
“Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves,
dispel the clouds which hang over our brows,
and take up a little life into our pores.
Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor,
but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.”