I first read Walden when I was 13; and it has been the one book that I have carried across the globe throughout my life and travels. Every time I open it, I find a new relevance and lesson to be learned. I have often attempted to lead a life that was out of the mainstream, out of the work - a - day prison of pursuing ever more and owning ever less. Indeed, I failed with the purchase of a house, that is not a mistake that I will be repeating. I believed, that despite my core character of not wanting or caring to belong, that I could indeed pursue wealth and 'happiness' in its' vain and that none of the stain would splash back upon me; it was a fools' game.
There is a parable of an Indian in Walden that speaks to me more clearly now, since the crash of 2008, than has ever before in my life.
“Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. “Do you wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. “No, we do not want any,” was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, “do you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off—that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing followed—he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. "
And in my life, I too had woven my own 'basket' to discover that it was not wanted; not worthwhile. I did all the things that you were 'supposed' to do. Go to school, get good grades, join the military, get to university, go get a 'good' job, buy a house, go get a Master's Degree, yadda - yadda - f'n yadda, etc.... and none of it mattered. I had played by the 'rules' that were wickets to what was supposed to be the cornerstones of the 'American Dream'; only to find - not only had the Cheese been moved, but it was replaced by a photo copy of an emoji of cheese and only had a spray-on aroma of something vaguely cheddarish.
I had made the classic blunder of Hubris
- thinking that I could participate in the system and somehow be an exception to the rule. That maybe, if I just kept my head down and worked harder it would all come out 'O.K
.' Nothing could be further from reality.
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