Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Henry David Thoreau’s beard, was the many roles he played in life. He was an author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, surveyor, historian and leading transcendentalist. As one of the fathers of transcendentalism he developed a novel view of the world by stepping outside it’s normal confines into the universe of nature. Most famously, he spent 2 years living in the woods near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, from which experience he wrote “Walden.” In the book he explains the purpose of his retreat:
“I went to he 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 wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
Transcendentalism has become a truly American philosophy and continued to roll forward to change the world.