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Walden Mini Essay

637 words - 3 pages

In society today, our elders are revered for having wisdom and the ability to lead the younger generation to success. However, the issue arises as to how reliable and valuable this advice truly is. I concur with Henry David Thoreau's conclusion made in this passage from Walden that advice from elders is not valuable because the experiences of each person are completely different and lessons learned cannot be smoothly transferred from person to person.

The main conclusion at the center of Thoreau's argument is that advice given from elders is not valid or valuable because experience is personalized to each person. Furthermore, elders that give advice have often had large failures in their own lives, so they are not entirely qualified to give advice themselves. Finally, he asserts that living in itself cannot bring wisdom, but rather insight and connection with the self, so age should not be considered a factor in whether one is qualified to give advice. There are many assumptions in these conclusions that also must be analyzed. The first is that the experiences of the elders are not synonymous with the experiences of those they attempt to advise. This is true to a large extent because everyone interprets events differently and based on one's perspective, they experience things differently. He also assumes that it is not experience but rather knowledge and insight that make one truly wise. This also holds true because there are many occasions in which people experience things but do not learn anything from them because they seem to go through the events blind sighted and without analyzing the situation to effectively learn. However, when one evaluates one's situation, they learn so much more and age is not required to have this ability. It is also important to analyze Thoreau's worldview. As a transcendentalist, he supported the idea that each person should act upon their own accord and follow their own beliefs...

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