Henry David Thoreau Went to StraighterLine

Barry Lenson

Henry David Thoreau Went to StraighterLine

Henry David Thoreau

Okay, we admit it. The title of today’s post is a lie. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the great American transcendentalist philosopher, never took courses at StraighterLine.

But if StraighterLine had been around when Henry David was alive, he would have been a student here. If his cabin on Walden Pond had been equipped with WiFi, he would have logged right on and started taking online college courses.

Here are a few reasons why . . .

Henry David liked to keep things simple. He wouldn’t have had a lot of patience with the rigmarole that it takes to get into college today. That’s why he said, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

Henry David was self-reliant.  He believed that the smartest people don’t follow rules blindly. That’s why he said, “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” He could have been describing the way people have to kill themselves to get into college today, right?

Henry David believed that learning takes hard work. That’s why he said, “To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Sounds like distance learning, right?

Henry David didn’t throw money away. That’s why he said, “Deprive yourself on nothing necessary for your comfort, but live in an honorable simplicity and frugality.” The notion of paying $50,000+ for a year of college would have sent him swimming out to drown himself in Walden Pond. 

Henry David was practical. He said, “Be not simply good - be good for something.” In other words, study hard and make yourself a success.

Henry David embraced new technology. That’s why he said, “Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years.” Imagine what he would have thought of a nice new laptop.

Henry David had really terrible hair. I mean, just look at the guy’s picture! This guy was a born online student – he obviously would have loved to roll out of bed and log on without giving a glance at himself in a mirror. That’s why he said, “Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Come to think of it, tons of other really great philosophers probably went to StraighterLine too. As soon as we figure out who they were, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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