On Modern Improvements- Henry David Thoreau

Here’s Henry David Thoreau on modern improvements.

As with our colleges, so with a hundred “modern improvements”; there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance. The devil goes on exacting compound interest to the last for his early share and numerous succeeding investments in them. Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate. Either is in such a predicament as the man who was earnest to be introduced to a distinguished deaf woman, but when he was presented, and one end of her ear trumpet was put into his hand, had nothing to say. As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly.

He could be talking about twitter, blogging and the internet. I love the slightly haughty tone where he says “but Maine & Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate”.

I’d rather have periods of quiet where I don’t say anything important than post fifteen or twenty posts a day which are rubbish.

With rubbish in mind, you can check out my twitter feed for more regular updates. 😉

www.twitter.com/benjiw

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