In college I recall being turned-off when studying Henry David Thoreau. While I, like all people, have many conflicting impulses, maybe my strongest impulse is against someone separating himself from the whole.
I feel this way despite a strong wariness of the will of the political majority, however it may be defined at any given moment, and despite the atomistic bent of my solid 1980’s Midwestern hardcore punk rock credentials.
Last week I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-O for the first time in many years. In this episode, top cop Steve McGarrett was asked to test some sort of telephone snooping device. McGarrett said into the phone, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”
This spoke to me. I’d heard it before—But for whatever reason it resonated with me very much on this one particular afternoon. I knew the quote was from Thoreau’s Walden.
So today I bought a copy of Thoreau. We’ll see if he reaches me or if my Andrew Jackson “of the people” impulses exert too strong a pull.