The Importance of Philosophy

English Lesson 140


In his book Walden, Henry David Thoreau didn’t convey any part of his philosophy. Doing this can leave readers uncertain as to how Thoreau lived and thought. Henry contradicted himself to the point that his audience was left confused about what he actually believed. A poorly presented philosophy can leave readers in a state of resentment toward the author. The reason for this is the fact that now the reader trusts the writer less, and thus handles the narrative with uncertainty. 


In one chapter Henry mentions that fact that he greatly prefers the solitariness of life. This is easily enough understood, and the impression is made upon readers that this man enjoyed his own company. The confusion occurs when, in the next chapter, he speaks of the pleasantry of visitors. Inconsistency like this can leave readers puzzled as to wether Henry lived the way he said he did. There is no philosophy presented in his book, and this is quite frankly, a terrible stratagem.


Thoreau’s philosophy was also flawed in the fact that he went to town to hear the gossip-news. This is understood easily enough, but the problem occurs when prior to this he frowned upon such activities. Failure to present a philosophy can be caused by one or two reasons. First, is the possibility that Thoreau had a philosophy but did a poor attempt at conveying it well (this is the most likely), or second, Thoreau assumed everyone shared his views.  Either way, it never presented itself in his book, Walden. Thoreau’s religion  is also unclear. He looks upon nature as if it were something to worship, as if it cared about him any more or any less than anyone else.  This happens to be the only mention of anything that could be understood as a religion, but its still unclear. All in all, Thoreau is avery hard man to read, and his writing doesn’t help thin the slightest. His life makes absolutely no sense. He doesn’t do what he says he enjoys and does what he says he dislikes.

Understanding Others

 Everyone must give a clear philosophy of what they believe, otherwise others will be left clueless to the motives behind your decisions. If others can’t understand how you think, how can they understand why you thought the way you did? Getting your philosophy understood in the early stages of an autobiography is very important. People need to see what your views on life are, how you live your life, and why you live it that way. Everyone has different philosophies, this is because God made all men different. You can’t assume that people will automatically understand your beliefs without giving them clues as to what you believe. That’s why explaining your philosophy early on is so important.

What Should be Done

Describing your philosophy doesn’t have to be in the first chapter. After all, the first chapter is where you should hook your readers into your story. I think it would be best to be included before you move on to the rest of your story. You could easily do this by telling a story about a section of your life that could help better describing your beliefs. Without giving readers a clear view of your philosophy, they will have a very hard time understanding what you are presenting though the entire story.

What You Want Instead

You don’t want to spend time writing an autobiography, only to discover that no one will read it because no one understands it. You want to be sure that people will understand how you viewed life, how you thought you should live life, and why you lived that way. There will always be major turning points which will become the point of a very critical decision in your life. There are events which bring up sorrow, joy, pain, and love. What really matters is how we deal with these as we live our lives. Philosophy has a lot to do with that. You want people to understand how you lived your life and why. You can do this by summarizing your philosophy in an early stage of your autobiography.




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