Thoreau wrote in Walden:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

How to understand Thoreau's idea of "living deliberately"? Please list at least two other Thoreau's works that embrace the idea of "living deliberately" and compare them.

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If one wishes to "live deliberately," this means that one must make one's choices with eyes widen open, understanding the implications and consequences of those choices. It entails maintaining an extremely high level of awareness of both oneself and the world, because when making any decision, one must ascertain who...

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If one wishes to "live deliberately," this means that one must make one's choices with eyes widen open, understanding the implications and consequences of those choices. It entails maintaining an extremely high level of awareness of both oneself and the world, because when making any decision, one must ascertain who could potentially be affected by that decision.

For example, if one decides to pay one's taxes, one must consider what to what causes or projects that money might go to support. If the money will only support local road projects or ecological conservation without harming anyone or anything one finds to be of value, then one can go ahead and pay one's taxes knowing the purposes and consequences of the money. If the money goes to support some kind of project that will, in fact, endanger local wildlife, then—morally speaking—one must deliberately choose not to pay one's taxes.

This is what Thoreau, himself, does when he refuses to pay his poll tax; he knew the money would go to support government practices that he could not morally endorse—the enslavement of African Americans and an unjust war in Mexico—and so he went to jail.

You might also read "Civil Disobedience," where Thoreau outlines his thoughts about the perfect government (i.e. no government at all) and how each person must answer to his or her own conscience and not the law. The reason for this is that laws are not always just, but a person's conscience will dictate what is truly just and fair. One must live deliberately by choosing to do what one's conscience dictates and not necessarily what the law dictates. We cannot simply do what we are told, and this takes courage.

You could also take a look at "A Plea for Captain John Brown," where he defends John Brown, the man who planned and led the raid on Harper's Ferry, as a patriot. Thoreau argues that Brown lived deliberately, choosing to champion justice over legality, and he holds Brown up as a model of such a lifestyle.

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