In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote: Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment. The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it, as for them, is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. It lives too fast.
Superficial “improvements,” trips and traps, ruinous luxury and heedless expense – the life we chase as Americans lives too fast. Still waters run deep. Conversely, the whitewater-ride many of us have created is nothing more than a shallow life crashing over rocks and obstacles.