Transcendentalism in Pop Culture CArlos VENEGas


“If a man does not keep 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.”

-Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"

Miley Cyrus was know to be one of the most influential singers in young people, since she started her series with Disney Channel "Hanna Montana". She was a basic American girl, she was a cheerleader but one day she quit and changed her way to dress.

Since approximately 2012, she decided to make changes in her life like cutting her hair short, and dressing different than she used to. Her life changed dramatically, everything that she used to be known for, changed, she just wanted to be different. The performance in the VMA with Robin Thicke is a great example of that change that she was looking for. Miley was heavily criticized because of the way she performed, twerking as is there was no tomorrow. Even though she did not received a lot of support from her fans, she was happy for her new personality and she still is. New Miley, and also new audience.

We can relate Miley Cyrus's change to transcendentalism, and more precisely to nonconformity because she was not happy for how she was living her life, she did not want to be how the people wanted to see her. She decided to make that change not caring about what the people thought about 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”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self Reliance"

The famous group of singers Fifth Harmony, has been a really good example of modern transcendentalism. Many of their songs show many treats of the tenet self reliance.

For example, their song BO$$, is a perfect example of self reliance, the lyrics truly describes how important it is for a person to show their own confidence and believe for themselves. By saying that you do not need any compliments, you show your independence to the world. Not needing any kind of boost. The transcendentalist idea is well represented by the lyrics of the song, when they say "don't want your compliments" they are showing how they are confident enough, and do not any validation from anyone todo what they like to do.

The lyric of the song also relates to the quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson in "Self Reliance" that basically says that you do not need anyone to tell you how you should live your life, and what things you want to do. They basically are telling you that you do not need from anyone, to do whatever you like, and does not matter what the people may think, you should keep doing what you really like.

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..."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature"

Avatar is a movie that clearly shows the importance of nature to one specific race, the Na'vi. On the planet that they live, Pandora, all living organisms are connected. Their trees are connected between other trees, and each one of the Na'vi can connect themselves to different animals, so they can sense each other's feelings. Basically their universe is all united.

This movie connect to the quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson because it says that being in nature, you return to reason. The nature of the Na'vi has the ability to teach them lessons. They believe that since nature is alive, they can live connected to it. Nature is not only an object for them, it is a living soul that need every part of it to survive. The Na'vi look to trees and nature for guidance and direction. If their have peace with nature, they have peace with their own life.

When the main character, Jake Sully, decides to rebel against his own race to defend the Na'vi, it was by his own feelings. He was motivated by his understanding of what is good for the people living with nature. He decided to help them against the human race as he watch that they have a lot to lose, they really have a strong connection with nature that if anything happens to one of them, can harm all.

Favoring Intuition over Reason

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”

Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history. He and his company completely changed the world and how technology is being used today.

Steve snobs presumed his dreams and his products have become household items. All around the world people are buying his products because how effective they are. He was told crazy for wanting to create different things like iPods, IPads or even the Laptops. People did not think that Steve Jobs was going to get this far. Even though he passed away, his company still working and it is one of the most important companies in the U.S and even around the world. He proved those people that did not believe in him that they were wrong by creating those "impossible" technology items that until now they have changed history.

He is a great example of favoring intuition over reason because he really thought outside the box and he is known by people all around the world. He connects to the quote that I chose because he did not care what the people thought what he could or couldn't do, he just followed his heart, and let his dreams became true.

Simplified Life

“That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

-Henry David Thoreau, "Journals 1856"

Johnny Depp, the famous actor, protagonist of the series of movies "Pirates of the Caribbean" is a greatexample of transcendentalism. Even though he is sure reach and has all the facilities and the money to do whatever he wants, he has decided to live such a simple life that really describes him to be a modern transcendentalist.

Johnny Depp's current house is located in France, in a really small village surrounded by nature. With a total of approximately 25 acres of land, he just likes to relax and live in a simple way. I know that it sounds crazy that with all that land how is he living a simple life? Well, even though he owns all of that and much more, his every day life in his house consists on just relaxing, and appreciating the beauty of nature. In an interview he said "With Vanessa and the kids, we live in a sort of village in the south and I have the impression of being in paradise, It is a property of about 30 acres and do you know what I do there? Absolutely nothing".

The life that Johnny Depp is living relates to the quote of Henry David Thoreaut, by showing how he is just so reach but he lives his life in such a simple way that he even describes it as truly simple existence.


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