“Civil Disobedience” is also important, however, because it has played an important role in Thoreau’s global influence. While Thoreau’s influence on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is exaggerated at times, it is clear that Thoreau’s essay and other writings provided Gandhi with a strategic advantage because of Thoreau’s place in American literature and because of Thoreau’s admiration for Hindu philosophy. Thoreau’s influence proceeded from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr.; through his reading of Gandhi, King encountered Thoreau as a political ally for the struggle for liberation from segregation and racism. Today, Thoreau’s influence extends to environmentalism and struggles for human rights within the . and beyond.
Nor can you do so when surrounded by the beeps and dings and hums of any number of devices. The author and journalist Richard Louv has thought a lot about technological distractions. Mr. Louv has long studied and proclaimed the benefits that humans can reap from being in nature. His wildly popular “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” includes evidence that exposure to nature is essential not just to children’s mental and physical health, but to everyone’s. Adults are just as susceptible to a “Vitamin N” deficiency he explains in his more recent “The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age.” I asked him about my writing-outside theory.
Under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” Sagan wrote a 1969 essay for Time magazine about the personal benefits he’d seen from cannabis use . Then in his mid-30s, he admitted to smoking throughout the prior decade. “I find that today a single joint is enough to get me high,” he wrote , going on to observe that marijuana had enhanced his appreciation for art and music. He concluded that “the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”