What ‘Walden’ can tell us about social distancing and focusing on life’s essentials

Henry David Thoreau, 1856. National Portrait Gallery/Wikipedia

As governments mandate social distancing to protect public health, many readers may be coming to grips with solitude. Thoreau devotes a chapter to it, extolling the virtue of getting to know yourself really well.

“Why should I feel lonely?” he asks, “is not our planet in the Milky Way?” Elsewhere he clarifies the difference between what we need and what we think we need, writing, “My greatest skill has been to want but little.”

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.