Tag Archives: invention

Improved means to an unimproved end (Walden 31)

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end…”

This is one of those times when Thoreau sounds anti-technology. I don’t think he was against technology so much as he was against its thoughtless adoption. Earlier in the book he speaks of the opportunity to use modern materials “to become richer than the richest now are, and make our civilisation a blessing.” (For example, you can learn how to make better pencils.) Continue reading