Transcendentalism Pop Culture Project Brandie williams


"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Miley Cyrus began her singing and acting career on the hit Disney TV show, "Hannah Montana". Throughout her time on and off the show, she was portrayed as Americas sweetheart. In August of 2012, she came out of her shell and showed America who she really wanted to be, she started off by cutting her hair, wearing crazy outfits, and showing a different music style than what everyone was used to hearing. She became more confident, and she does what she wants, she does not conform to society's standards. In a song Cyrus came out with in 2013, "Can't stop" she makes it a point to tell everyone that this is our life and we can say or do or be what we want to. Some lyrics sang by Miley Cyrus in the song are "It's our party we can do what we want to, It's our house we can love who we want to, It's our song we can sing if we want to, it's my mouth I can say what I want to". Miley Cyrus and this song fit the nonconformity attitude perfectly, just like the transcedentalists Cyrus does not play by society's rules, she believes in being who she wants to be, and she continues spreading all around the world that it is okay to be different as long as you are not acting like someone you are not.


"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The hit reality TV show, "Survivor" takes place on a remote location where a group of contestants are stranded with little more than clothes on their back, throughout the show they have to provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves. They must compete in challenges for rewards, every week a contestant is eliminated by fellow contestants, the last person standing is rewarded 1 million dollars. They must really learn to rely on themselves for survival, although they are not completely alone, they can only trust themselves because everyone is out to win the money. Throughout the show, the contestants learn survival skills and how to do things on their own without the help of others and they learn to provide the necessities for themselves. Much like a transcendentalist believes you should do, despite the money. There is nothing in it for them, self reliance is just a way of living to them. As quoted by Emerson, nothing can bring you peace but yourself. This means that you are the only one that controls how you feel, you can only depend on yourself, and that is exactly what contestants on the show survival must do also.

Importance Of Nature

"But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a song by The Beetles, called "Mother Natures Son" the singers sing about simply the beauty of nature. Throughout the song they are admiring nature and the things you find in nature as you can tell from the lyrics "Find me in my field of grass" and "sit beside a mountain stream, see her waters rise, listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies." The song really captures how much they love nature and appreciate it. The meaning behind this song is how important nature is, how peaceful it can be, and how relaxed it can make you. The song shows the same belief as a transcedentalist belief, "importance of nature" in the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, he is explaining that no matter what stress a person has, nature can always soothe you. The quote and Song have the same meaning behind it.


"What a man thinks of himself, that is what determines or rather indicates, his fate." -David Henry Thoreau

Surfer, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing. She is now an inspiration all over the world, her story became so popular, they even made a movie based on it, called "Soul Surfer". There are many shark attacks all over the world, but what made this one stand out was that Hamilton lost her arm, she was told she would never be able to surf again because it is of course a necessity to use both arms while surfing. She refused to believe it was impossible, surfing was her passion and she was not scared to go back in the water, she was scared of not ever being able to go back in. All the people telling Bethany that she would never be able to surf again just made her want to work harder to get back on the waves. Within a couple months, she faced all the odds and became the surfer she used to be, if anything she has only grown from the attack. Bethany Hamilton and her story are perfect for the transcedentalist belief "intuition over reason" because Bethany didn't care about what she was told even though it had a very logical reason behind it, she overcame logic and used her intuition to prove that nothing is impossible despite statistics.

Simplified Life

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." -David Henry Thoreau

Famous Actor, Johnny Depp and his family choose to live their life in a small village in France with access to thirty acres of land, although they have earned millions of dollars and very well live a luxurious life, they chose to live a simplified life rather than a life of extravagance. Much like the transdentalist who lived out in nature for a couple years, using only the necessities of life. He also believed that one should only eat when truly starving. The transcedentalist and modern Johnny Depp relate because they both believe in a simplified life, although they could very well live a life of luxury they chose not to.

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