Transcendentalist Pop Culture Project Travis Wisher


“Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood" (Nonconformity, Ralph Waldo Emerson).

"It's our party we can do what we want It's our party we can say what we want It's our party we can love who we want We can kiss who we want We can see who we want" (We can't stop, Miley Cyrus).

Miley has been her self since day one. When she was once Hannah Montana she was a crazy young girl. Miley Cyrus is a transcendentalist because she does what she wants like she said in her song. She isn't going to be the cute little girl everyone wants her to be; she is going to be herself. In her song she says " We can kiss who we want to" (We can't stop, Miley Cyrus). By this, she means that you don't have to do what other people tell you to do, which is an example of not conforming.

Miley Cyrus would be welcome to have dinner with Ralph Waldo Emerson because Miley Cyrus is herself, she does what she wants, and she is always having fun. She is a person that inspires me. I admire how she does her own thing and no one can make her do different. When she cut her hair short, the way that many people did not like it, she did not care and she kept cutting her hair in that way to be true to herself.

Importance of Nature

“In the woods we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life - no disgrace, no calamity…” (Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson).

"Let it go, let it go I am one with the wind and sky Let it go, let it go You'll never see me cry!" (Let it Go, Elsa).

Elsa from frozen sang a song called Let it Go. In this song she says she is "one with the wind and sky" (Let it Go, Elsa). This shows us that she enjoys nature and feels at peace when she is surrounded by it. When she is around nature, she feels empowered, which is why she says "you'll never see me cry!" (Let it Go, Elsa).

This ties in with the importance of nature because Elsa feels that she can truly be herself when she is alone, surrounded by a natural environment. Since she cannot be herself around other people, going into nature to express herself and her emotions makes her very happy. When she is around people, she knows she cannot show her true emotions, so being in nature serves as her escape from the barriers that society has put on her.

Self Reliance

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it" (Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson).

"She's nothing like the rest of us. Yes, diff'rent from the rest of us is Belle!" (Beauty and the Beast, Townsfolk)

In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is very different from the other people in her small town. Unlike other people in her society, she enjoys reading. This sets her apart from the townsfolk because they do not understand why she always has her face buried in a book. For example they say "She's nothing like the rest of us" (Beauty and the Beast, Townsfolk). However, the fact that she does her own thing by reading shows that she is self reliant.

We can see that Belle has self reliance because she is misunderstood and alienated. However, this does not stop her from doing what she loves, which is reading. Not only that, but her father is an inventor who is always mocked. Sometimes she even gets laughed at because of her father, but that does not stop her from being the person she wants herself to be.

Favoring Intuition over Reason

“A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver.”(Favoring Intuition over Reason, Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Together, even the smallest can achieve the greatest goal" (A Bug's Life, Flik).

Flik is a very misunderstood character. Everyone looks down on him, and always blames him for the things that go wrong. Flik is an inventor whose inventions do not work the best. Despite the quirks of his inventions and the negative feedback he always gets from everyone, he is determined to right his wrongs, because he thought that "together, even the smallest can achieve the greatest goal" (A Bug's Life, Flik).

Flik is a transcendentalist because even though people were doubting him, being mean to him, and shutting him out, he knew his inventions could be good so he worked to better them. Since he never gave up, even when things were not looking good for him, it is clear that he favors his intuition, whether it be right or wrong, against other people's reason.

Simplified Life

“Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”(Simplified Life, Walden, Henry David Thoreau)

"Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife! The bare necessities, old mother nature's recipes that bring the bare necessities of life" (The Jungle Book, Baloo).

Baloo is all about living a simple life and taking pride in it. He does not take things too seriously, and enjoys the little things that nature has to offer him. For example he says "look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities" (The Jungle Book, Baloo). This shows us that he does not need much to be happy. He is basically saying that as long as he has enough to get by, then he doesn't need more.

Baloo enjoys living a simple life with his back leaned up against a tree. He does not need luxury to enjoy himself. This is the perfect example of a simple lifestyle. He is happy laying under a tree, floating down a river, or eating prickly pears. No matter what, as long as he has his bare necessities, he cannot go wrong. He does not need any extra things in life to make the most of it. For him, living a simple life helps him be relaxed and happy. We see this when he says "Forget about your worries and your strife!" (The Jungle Book, Baloo).


Created with images by tpsdave - "yosemite national park california" • kraigseder - "half dome yosemite yosemite national park" • Lukas Rauscher - "Miley Cyrus figure at Madame Tussauds Berlin" • andrejcook - "valley mountains yosemite" • tpsdave - "glacier point yosemite valley" • Unsplash - "scene yosemite half dome" • tpsdave - "yosemite national park california" • akasped - "Yosemite"

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