Sunday, August 03, 2008



Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), p. 176:
Ishi felt quite sure that he knew the chief causes for men's sickening in civilization. They were, briefly, the excessive amount of time men spent cooped up in automobiles, in offices, and in their own houses. It is not a man's nature to be too much indoors, and especially within his own house with women constantly about.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal (April 26, 1841):
The charm of the Indian to me is that he stands free and unconstrained in Nature, is her inhabitant and not her guest, and wears her easily and gracefully. But the civilized man has the habits of the house. His house is a prison, in which he finds himself oppressed and confined, not sheltered and protected. He walks as if he sustained the roof; he carries his arms as if the walls would fall in and crush him, and his feet remember the cellar beneath. His muscles are never relaxed. It is rare that he overcomes the house, and learns to sit at home in it, and roof and floor and walls support themselves, as the sky and trees and earth.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal (April 26, 1857):
A great part of our troubles are literally domestic or originate in the houses and from living indoors. I could write an essay to be entitled "Out of Doors,"—undertake a crusade against houses.
Henry David Thoreau, Walking:
When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them,—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon,—I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.

I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour of four o'clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,—I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together.

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