from the chapter Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
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The juxtaposition presented in the title of the chapter, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," provides an excellent clue as to Thoreau's philosophy. For him, the physical circumstances of life an intrinsically and inescapably tied to a person's spiritual life. The appearance of his cabin, its size and furniture, even its placement on the shore of the pond all contribute to his spiritual awakening. Because of this connection between one's physical and spiritual life, Thoreau's retreat to the shore of Walden Pond is necessary; and it is because of this that he urges his townsmen to likewise reconsider their physical circumstances. He is making a statement that our spiritual well- being should come before all else, that things are simply things..... they do not have an influence on who or how happy we are as individuals.