My place

What do we Actually Need?


What we Feel we Need.


Conor MacLean


“ I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing.”


       It is tough to deal with the difference of want and need. In English class, we are reading the first chapter of Walden, “Economy” by Henry David Thoreau, and he is arguing with me what I believe is the correct way of life and I think I am losing. Throughout this entire section of “Economy” Thoreau is challenging what we believe are the needs of life; However, Thoreau is challenging it in a extremely unique way. He is challenging not necessarily what we buy, but the quality of what we buy. For example, shelter, we obviously need shelter, but does everybody need their own room and a large living space? This is how Thoreau is trying to send his message towards the reader in this section of “Economy”.       

      This excerpt of “Economy” covers how we have to be aware that we are being manipulated by companies and industries on spending money on unnecessary clothes just to look good and try and impress someone else. He warns us “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”  At the beginning of reading this part of “Economy” I was against what Thoreau had to say about how we loved our lives incorrectly; however, this quote is what changed my mind and led me to believe Thoreau was correct and we should live our lives more simply. “At present men make shift to wear what they can get. They put on what they can find on the beach, and at a little distance... Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” Not only does this quote exemplify what is like to live simply, and passionately, it shows how if you focus your time and dedication on what actually matters, like work and school you will live a productive life. Along with what Thoreau said, if people work hard and spend their time working they will make and save more money because they won’t be distracted by the outside world. Another method to keep yourself safe from the outside world is shelter. In the next chapter of “Economy” Thoreau  continue his theme of living simply and getting a better bang for your buck. “The very simplicity and nakedness of man's life in the primitive ages imply this advantage, at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature.” When people live simply they find themselves enjoying their life more and not being constantly stressed about paying for things that don’t necessarily matter.

       Once I began reading the chapter of Economy I did not agree with anything Thoreau had to say. However, as I continued reading  Thoreau made solid and convincing point that gradually shifted my thoughts to agree with him. One point that convinced me “In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.” This convinced me because it meticulously showed how men get this goal in their minds that they believe they need to have, but in the end we are just being a little greedy.

      Having to accept the fact that we all greedy in some aspects of life is hard, yet being able to score the truth is much better than denying what you are afraid to accept.