“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau
This quote comes from Thoreau’s first chapter “Economy in Walden”. Basically, what he says is that men are not enjoying their lives. They do not have any time to look inwards and are constantly living with anxiety and self-doubts. This is because they are always working all the time like machines without any leisure in order to meet their needs. He says meeting basic necessaries of life is sufficient and easy to achieve. It is the need to fulfill higher aspirations in life that is causing all the anxiety and leading to our quite desperation.
I don’t think this quote is inspirational or motivational. It’s more of a critique highlighting the futility of leading lives which lack a higher purpose and dying without being able to realize one’s complete potential. Thoreau was a political thinker so this quote might also be hinting towards those who succumb under the state machinery and fail to stand for their rights, unable to withstand suffering – both physical and spiritual.
I am still convinced that nothing happens to us by chance and there is some order to this universe, but we all seem to be given a part to play in this divine play. Our reaction to circumstance definitely counts in the grand scheme of things.
The great Blues players like BB King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and many other artists, were able to capitalize on this after many years of non-ending struggles in life