Sub-subject: Henry David Thoreau - Civil Disobedience. Syllabus:
Sample of the Sub-subject: Henry Thoreau
“The law does not make a free man; is the man who has to make the law free” Henry David Thoreau
Sub-Subject Description: Henry David Thoreau
The philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau (the United States, 1817-1862) was the author of the essay “Philosophy of Civil Disobedience” based on Non-violence (Ahimsa), which influenced the political ideas of several Christian spiritual leaders (Leo Tolstoy or Martin Luther King) and Hinduism (Mahatma Gandhi).
He also wrote an influential book “Walden” a reflection upon simple living in nature. He was also a poet, surveyor, historian and an active supporter of the struggle against slavery.
“It is better to respect the well that the law” Henry David Thoreau
His essay on civil disobedience is based on his life; Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes because he was radically opposed to collaborating to finance the war that the United States was unleashing against Mexico and to maintain an economic system based on slavery, one of the biggest embarrassments of Western Civilisation.
“If the alternative is to keep the fair in prison or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate to choose. We must move towards peaceful revolution based on non-violence” Henry Thoreau
“Rather than love, money, faith, fame, and justice, give me truth” Henry Thoreau
Influence on Gandhi. Hinduism influenced on Thoreau.
“In the morning I wash my intelligence in the breathtaking and cosmogonal thinking of the Bhagavad-Gita - Hinduism.
And if we compare the Bhagavad-Gita with which the modern world and its Literature seem weak and insignificant” Henry David Thoreau
It is interesting to point out this mutual influence:
The eternal religion, Hinduism, inspires a spiritual leader of Christian Civilisation, Thoreau.
This Hindu philosophy merges with their ideas and emerges the concept of “Civil Disobedience,” which will return to India to influence in one of the leaders of the spiritual renewal of Hinduism: Mahatma Gandhi.
In Thoreau's work; we can see a significant similarity to Taoist thought (“The more laws, more thieves”).
“That Government is best which governs least” Henry David Thoreau
“Luxury and comfort are not indispensable, are an obstacle to spiritual elevation of humanity” Thoreau
The vision of Thoreau also influenced personalities like Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Bernard Shaw, John F. Kennedy. In 1998, President Clinton recognised the principle of civil disobedience as alternatives to violence.
While Thoreau was Transcendentalists; we have included in this study on Christianity, not for his religion, but because he belongs to Christian Civilisation and for being a true spiritual leader of Non-Violence.