For two weeks I have been reading through the book Walden, and I regret to say I am only half way done with it. The man may write eloquently, but honestly, he didn’t say much that made logical sense to me. Always swapping sides and saying things that contradict todays logic are just a couple of examples. His philosophy of life was no clearer, which brings us to today’s question regarding autobiographies. The assigned question asks: “How important is it for a person to summarize his philosophy of life in an early chapter of an autobiography?”
To put it simply, I would say that it is of great importance. My teacher, Dr.Gary North, once defined an autobiography as a book which reveals the era they were written in. More specifically, it reveals what problems they dealt with, how they lived, and what they thought. The latter of the three doesn’t just apply to thinking in general, it includes what they though, about life. And by stating it early on, it would sort of explain to the reader why he did this, or said that about something or other. Basically, it would help the reader to see the reasoning behind some events in the book, as well as the discussions mentioned.
Having said that, I will mention that Thoreau did in fact state his philosophy rather early on in the book. The only issue with this is that his philosophy greatly differs from mine, and maybe other people’s views as well. For one, he believed in mother nature, where as I believe in father God. Another view which I think many would not agree with, is that he didn’t believe in time. Yes, this is true. He stated in his book he had no concept of time, which puzzled me a lot. How does one have no idea what time is? Just look up in the sky and watch it go by as the sun moves.
Regardless of whether his philosophy made sense (or not), I do think it is important for readers to know how an author saw the world and life in general. It is key to comprehending why an author behaved the way he did.