Thursday, May 17, 2007

... A Transcendentalist Perspective

"I had come in stages to a different belief about how one should be in this life. I now felt convinced that the greater part of a man's duty consists in abstaining from much that he is in the habit of consuming. If I prolong my dark hours by the consumption of costly oil, then I waste both the life of the beast slaughtered for the purpose, and the clarity of mind which comes from timely sleep. If I indulge in coffee then I pay to pollute myself, when instead I could have a cleansing draught of water at no charge at all. None in our household ate meat, but now we learned to do without milk and cheese also, for why should the calf be deprived of its mother's milk? Further, we found that by limiting our own consumption to two meals a day, we were able to set aside a basket of provisions from which the girls were able to exact a pleasure far greater than sating an animal appetite. once a week, they carried the fruit of their sacrifice as a gift to a destitute brood of German immigrants."

John March
Geraldine Brooks


Bethany said...

Wow, amazing quote. You always find the best books. I will have to add this one to my list. I think Little Women was one of my all time favorite books so it would be fun to read about Mr. March.

Jennifer said...

It's good to be reminded that what we do/don't do affects the world in which we live. Thanks for the reminder.

Michelle said...

It's inspiring. I'm looking for further reading material on Bronson Alcott and the transcendentalists. I'm very provoked by this point of view.