If You Have Built Castles In The Air

If you have built castles in the air
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“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was an American philosopher and writer best known for his philosophy of Transcendentalism and his essays in his book “Walden”. He is one of the most influential figures in history because of his revolutionary lifestyle and beliefs that became the focal point of his book.

Thoreau’s political and philosophical views have inspired his readers throughout history. His most influential essay “Civil Disobedience” was quoted by political figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi who led peaceful protests against racism and injustice. His essays on existentialism and naturalism were also referenced in films like the “Dead Poets Society” and “Into the Wild.”

The quote above speaks of setting goals and turning them into reality, but Thoreau was perceived by his friend Ralph Emerson as unambitious and “the captain of huckleberry-party.” At the end of his book, Thoreau asked, “Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises?” His goal was never about attaining power but “sucking out the marrow of life” and living as an individual. It was for these reasons that he was considered an oddity and a misfit in the community.

Writer and philosopher Albert Camus said “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Thoreau put the foundations in his goals by daring to live by his own principles, risking his own reputation and comfort. He is one of the few writers whose lives are as phenomenal as their words.

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