In celebration of the Thoreau bicentennial, Dr John Lenarcic (School of Business IT and Logistics) will present the big ideas of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) for this month’s regular discussion.
Thoreau was an American essayist, poet and practical philosopher. The author of works such as Civil Disobedience (1849) and Walden (1854), he was a prominent figure in the 19th century New England Transcendentalist movement in the United States along with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).
Thoreau’s reflective scholarship anticipated contemporary discourse on environmentalism. He advocated abolitionism, tax resistance, conscientious objection and simple living through anarchism. Thoreau’s notion of civil disobedience was the spark that ignited the political motivations of such historical luminaries as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Thoreau’s book Walden is a classic meditation on the relationship between humanity and the natural world and its degradation due to the Industrial Revolution. It has been described as a trenchant criticism of the excesses of technology that remains valid to this day.