Read Thoreau: The Same Sun

We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages.

From Walden Chapter 1 “Economy”

For Discussion and Journaling:

  • What fundamental characteristic of the environment does Thoreau remind us about? Why is it so important to understand this, especially in our age?
  • Is it important to “look through each other’s eyes” or to understand “all the ages of the world in an hour”? What do we gain? What happens when we don’t?
  • How do you personally find ways to look through another’s eyes? Do you apply the same principle across all areas of your life - for example, relationships, school, your environmental ethic, etc.
  •  Can you think of environmental problems or situations in the world that result from lack of knowledge, perspective, or different interests?