2.19.2008

Thoreau's Journal: 19-Feb-1855

Many will complain of my lectures that they are transcendental. “Can’t understand them.” “Would you have us return to the savage state?” etc., etc. A criticism true enough, it may be, from their point of view. But the fact is, the earnest lecturer can speak only to his like, and the adapting of himself to his audience is a mere compliment which he pays them. If you wish to know how I think, you must endeavor to put yourself in my place. If you wish me to speak as if I were you, that is another affair.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with thoreau here, a speaker to change the way he speaks to adapt to an audience, might as well just be an actor.

DEVON B. said...

this is a very interesting quote. Thoreau is addressing all of those who disagreed with his opinion. he is not asking anyone to beleve what he says, but he will not say what they want to hear because it is not what he believes. it is his way of saying here i am and if you dont like me thats fine. its a very confident and independant quote.

Katie said...

Devon brings up a god point, and I agree that Thoreau was arguing that people were not forced t believe what he believed. But I really liked his way of arguing that they could not accuse him unless they had attempted his feat but he had lived many years in the same society as the "speakers" to which he refers. This gives him the upper hand in an argument being able to see both sides of the argument instead of just speaking from a single, biased point of view based on inexperience.

Matt said...

I agree with Thoreau. Sometimes the only way to learn is through experience.

Sarah Schatz said...

Hearing a lecturer is a privilege to an audience. For one, the speaker most likely is an expert on something that the audience is not that familiar with. Secondly, the speaker is supposed to share their information with the audience to enlighten the audiences' minds. So, a speaker should never change his voice for the audience. The audience should pay respect to the speaker, instead.

Sam Linhart said...

I strongly agree both with what Thoreau said and with a previous post. To speak is to say all that you believe and not to change your words to satisfy your audience. As previously stated, if all you do is tell your auduence what they want to hear then you might as well be an actor.