Origins of Sayings - The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation
About the history and origins behind the famous saying the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Stories behind Famous Sayings
The Saying: THE MASS OF MEN LEAD LIVES OF QUIET DESPERATION.
Who Said It: Henry David Thoreau
The Story behind It: American philosopher and naturalist Thoreau isolated himself at Walden Pond in Massachusetts from 1845 to 1847. His experiences during that time were published in Walden (1854), which Thornton Wilder called "a manual of self-reliance." In a well-known passage, Thoreau stated his purpose: "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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation..." In the first essay, "Economy," Thoreau comments that most men are slaves to their work and enslaved to those for whom they work. He concludes: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation...."
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