If it is possible for one word to summarize a man, then that word would be the advice he offered in Walden: “Simplify, simplify”[which is actually two words]. Thoreau was a self-consciously simple man who organized his life around basic truths. He listened to the inner voice of his conscience, a voice all men possess but few men follow. As he explained in Walden,

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity[1] and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.

[1] loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity

In coming to a definition of “living a peaceful life”, it occurs to me that key elements may be “simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust“.

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One Response to magnanimity

  1. A Table in the Sun says:

    I love the definition of magnanimity. Something to aspire to.

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