“Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring. Sometimes we are inclined to class those who are once-and-a-half-witted with the half-witted, because we appreciate only a third part of their wit.”
As you read the Conclusion to Walden, pay attention to Thoreau’s use of waking and sleep as metaphors of one’s larger awareness of self and of the world. It also had a surprising personal significance for the author — to his frustration, he suffered from narcolepsy, a neurological sleep disorder that ran in his family and which sometimes interfered with his ability to work. He valued awakening in more ways than one!
(About “A Year in Walden”)