1.06.2014

made for happiness
...Thoreau's Journal: 06-Jan-1857

A man asked me the other night whether such and such persons were not as happy as anybody, being conscious, as I perceived, of such unhappiness himself and not aspiring to much more than an animal content. “Why!” said I, speaking to his condition, “the stones are happy. Concord River is happy, and I am happy too. When I took up a fragment of a walnut-shell this morning, I saw by its very grain and composition, the form and color, etc., that it was made for happiness. The most brutish and inanimate objects that are made suggest an everlasting and thorough satisfaction; they are the homes of content. Wood, earth, mould, etc., exist for joy. Do you think that Concord River would have continued to flow these millions of years by Clamshell Hill and round Hunt’s Island, if it had not been happy,—if it had been miserable in its channel, tired of existence, and cursing its maker and the hour that it sprang?”

4 comments:

5thBeliever said...

Unbelievable. Reminds me of the medieval/Aristotelian conception of the "rotation of the spheres" being due to their love of God.

Meg said...

Here, in this little nugget of a journal entry, is the very essence of Thoreau and, I daresay, the problem with those who don't follow his thinking. 'Bloom where you're planted' is the newest phrase to join the lot, but the message is the same: thrive where you are, given any form or color or lot. If we could only see - on a regular basis - the happiness Thoreau saw in his world, there would be less discontentment. It's so simple that it's hard to understand. Just brilliant.

michael jameson said...

if a man was not happy or have at least a morsel of the hope of happiness he would end his life! so everyone is happy! there are degrees of happiness yet that is for each to decide.

Quinton Blue said...

Thoreau wasn't just a naturalist, he was a poet of sorts. There are things that literature knows that science can't grasp. Try to read a novel with the scientific method. Go to an art museum and try to understand Winslow Homer with math, logic, chemistry or biology. Can't be done. The medieval thinkers were no slouches as well.