How did solitude help Thoreau appreciate society better?

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Thoreau learns that less is more when it comes to society. He learns to value society more through having less of it when he stays alone by Walden Pond.

Thoreau notes that constantly being in company can become wearying. He says we have to invent rules and etiquette so that we can bear to be with each other. By being too much in society, we get on each other's nerves and are irritated with each other. As he puts it:

We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications.

Thoreau enjoyed solitude. He found company in the animal life and nature all around him--and in his own thoughts. He enjoyed when people came to visit his tiny cabin, which only had three chairs, because it offered a contrast to his normal solitude.

Solitude also afforded Thoreau the opportunity to find his true self more wholly, which he implies made him a better member of society when he returned to it:

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

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Solitude helped Thoreau to appreciate society better because, as he writes in the chapter entitled "Solitude," "Society is commonly too cheap."  In other words, we spend so much time with other people: at every meal, at the post office, at the fireside at night, and so on.  We are constantly running into one another, and so we don't really have an opportunity to miss other people.  Have you ever heard of the expression Absence makes the heart grow fonder?  Thoreau's sentiment is quite similar to this idea.  He says that our constant company renders it like a "musty cheese" that we foist on each other over and over.  He believes that, when we are always with other people, "we [...] lose some respect for one another."  More solitude gives us the opportunity to be truly glad when we do have company and it prevents this company from becoming a "musty cheese" that we must endure and instead becomes enjoyable.

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