"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery
of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair
is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind
. There is no play
in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom
not to do desperate things.
"When we consider what, to use the words of the catechism, is the chief end of man, and what are the true necessaries and means of life, it appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear."
Advice from Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), in Chapter 1, Economy, of Walden. Thoreau was a Transcendentalist writer who moved to Walden Pond, Massachusetts on July 4, 1845, and lived there for two years and two months. He explains why in the following passage from Walden:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."