“The image of Thoreau has been fixed for the public by educators and "men of taste”: it is that of a hermit, a crank, a nature faker. It is the caricature which has been preserved, as is usually the case with our eminent men.
His whole life has bore testimony to the obvious fact which men are constantly overlooking, that to sustain life we need less rather than more, that to protect life we need courage and integrity, not weapons, not coalitions.
By living his own life in his own "eccentric” way Thoreau demonstrated the futility and absurdity of the life of the (so called) masses. It was a deep, rich life which yielded him the maximum of contentment. In the bare necessities he found adequate means for the enjoyment of life. ‘The opportunities of living,’ he pointed out, 'are diminished in proportion as what are called the 'means’ are increased.’“
— Henry Miller on Henry David Thoreau (via)