In 1854 a fellow by the name of Henry David Thoreau published a book entitled Walden, named after a small pond just outside Concord, MA. Part love letter to nature, part treatise on simplicity, Walden took the whole religion of modernity to task, from rail roads, to the media. The book mixes every day observations on simple living (cutting wood, growing beans) along with some pretty heavy philosophizing on the nature being and the joys of independence and self sufficiency.
Thoreau’s gleanings during the 2 years he spent on that pond were part of small movement of transcendentalists (see Emmerson and Whitman) that were championing an alternative view to that of man versus nature, and his writings went on to have a profound influence on thinkers and non violent leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
A recent article from the NYT reveals that we still have a lot to learn from the pond that was the wellspring of Thoreau’s inspiration. You can check that article out here. or go right to the source: drop by your nearest library and borrow an old copy of Walden.