1. According to Thoreau’s argument in “Civil Disobedience”, if the law requires you to uphold an injustice to another, then what should you do? What types of examples/rationales does Thoreau give? And in your opinion, in what way does the “Higher Laws” chapter of Walden correspond to the argument made in Disobedience essay (or not)? Cite at least 1 direct quote from the essay and from that “Laws” chapter in your comparison.
If the law requires you to uphold an injustice to another, what should you do? Thoreau states that you should do what you believe is right; do not conform to a government that you do not agree with. By not conforming you are you are not obligated to eliminate evil from the world rater you are obligated to not participate in its evil. A rational of Thoreau’s is his refusal to pay taxes; he is “washing his hands” and refuses to support a system he does not a free with. His refusal to pay taxes is not based on the desire to boycott the government but to refuse his allegiance to the States as a whole. "I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases." (Civil Disobedience)
The “Higher Laws” chapter of Walden agrees with “Civil Disobedience” in the aspect that we have control over how we live, think and what we do. In High Laws Thoreau lives a life that completes him, a simple life with minimal obligations. With the freedom to do what he want on his land, and to become the person he wants to be. “Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body” (Higher Laws.) We are what we make of ourselves, and we have the freedom to think unrestricted that makes us who we are. “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right” (Civil Disobedience.) You have complete control to do what is right, your conscious assist you to do what you want to do. You are obligated to do the right thing because if you go against what you think is right then you are not living an honest life.
2. Review the steps to spiritual independence and enlightenment according to Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” essay. (They were laid out in your class authored power-point, and you can feel free to look at that again). Then explain how the “Nature” and “Experience” essays provide some guidance to achieving those steps, in your informed opinion. Cite at least 3 quotes directly in your answer.
The first step is to figure out how not self-reliant you are when you think. “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in you private heart is true for all men.” Believe in yourself, if you think that something is right or wrong do not conform to anyone else if they think the opposite or differently. Stay true to yourself and be an individual. That is step two; trust your intuition. Your intuition is when you understand something without hesitation, there is no conscious reasoning behind intuition. Intuition is a “gut feeling” and it may feel like an instinctive way of thinking. Step three is taking responsibility along with living honestly. With the freedom of thoughts and actions comes responsibility. The last step is the hardest and it is to execute all of the steps in the crowd. Having thoughts that are nonconforming are not very popular against the majority. It is hard; the majority public opinion has a heavy persuasive effect.
“Build therefore your own world.” (Nature Emerson) Is the Goal to Emerson’s steps to spiritual independence and enlightenment, Emerson believes that everyone must develop a personal understanding of the universe. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” (Experience Emerson) Emerson’s stresses that God is the source of man’s power, and insight to divinity are the ultimate goal of living. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is…