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Where did the phrase 'march to the beat of a different drummer' originate?


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2010-11-27 21:07:50
2010-11-27 21:07:50

It is derived from the writings of the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who wrote:

"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. "

Thoreau is the author of the expression, which has entered the language and appears in various forms. The form you mention is probably the most commonly heard.


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marching to the beat of a different drummer means to like for example do what you think is right not what other people think its right.Here is a musical example:If a man does not keep pace with his companions,perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.from the "Conclusion" to WaldenI Hear a Different DrummerChorusI hear a different drummer,I hear another beat,I'm marching to a rhythm ,From a distant street.I'd like to stay here Johnny,I'm sure your song is fine,But I hear a different drummer playing mine.It pleases me to think,That I think as I please,I'm bothered not at all,When someone disagrees.He's welcome to his song,And anytime it's played,I'll cheer the man along,But I won't join his parade.ChorusA man at Walden Pond,Began this song I hum,He learned it from his heart,Not from a hollow drum.The note he struck was brave,He sang it loud and clear,When other music plays,Only his song do I hear.Chorus

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To begin, you need to understand that the phrase "keep pace," which we now associate only with speed, would have meant something more along the lines of "keep rhythm" in today's usage, although speed might have been implied as well. The image of a group marching to the beat of a drum, whether this is a parade or a military unit, suggests conformity and orthodoxy. To "march to the beat of a different drummer" is simply to live in a way that is outside the norm. I take this quote to mean that if someone is eccentric or doesn't share your same values, goals, etc. then he or she simply has a different take on life, and that you should respect that person's views whether or not they are your own.ANSWER: People love their systems, and most people thrive in established systems, others don't. If you are not flourishing and prospering living your life the way every one else thinks you should be doing it, stop doing it that way, and march to the beat of your own drum.

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