Transcendentalism in Pop Culture Samantha Mercer


“Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tyler the Creator is a hip hop artists who often shows the transcendentalist characteristic of non conformity. This is shown in every aspect of his career including his distaste for being titled to a specific genre of music because it creates expectations for his music, which he says is all about free spirit. Another way he shows nonconformity is by not respecting authority. He believes he should respect the laws, because they are there for a reason, but never the ones who enforce them. He is also creative in everything he does, including his style. Tyler wears what he wants, no matter how weird it seems to other people or how much he gets criticized for it. His style is not all he gets criticized for however, because he is also very controversial with things he says, inside and outside of his music. He stirs the pot with shocking and in your face lyrics, and he is not scared to show his opinion no matter how harshly he does it. In fact, in his one of his most popular songs, "Yonkers" he openly shares his dislike for pop artist Bruno Mars. Profanity is also always present in his music, but he claims he does not use it to seem "cool" or "hard", in fact, in a SpeakEasy interview he explained his constant use of the F-word by saying: “I really don’t know why, the word sounds cool. When I use it, it has this meaning to me that I haven’t found yet. It sparks something when I say it. I put so much emphasis on it when I say it and people listen to me so I guess it subconsciously puts power into this world that I am living in and makes me feel like I am being heard. I don’t know, I’ll probably figure it out when I am older.” He is unique, and openly shares his views with the world. Tyler also doesn't let his fame get to him, he remembers who he is and keeps his family, and friends close. Tyler the Creator is worth listening to because he pushes boundaries, even more than Eminem does, get past the cursing and really listen to what he is saying because his music will get you thinking about some pretty big subjects.. Tyler the Creator is a perfect example of a nonconformist musician because he doesn't need money, women, and expensive cars to be heard and satisfied with his music.

Importance of Nature

“In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life is always a child.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Transcendentalist belief of the Importance of Nature is shown throughout the media. Teens today glorify the beauty of the world and that is proven by the thousands of posts and pages that revolve around breath taking scenery. Simple posts on twitter with tumblr photos of camping and adventure get thousands of retweets and favorites a day. People create social media accounts just to post pictures of beaches or forests and what is crazy about it is that people actually follow and like them. I believe that many people yearn to go and explore the world and see beautiful places, I think what stops teens from doing so is the time and and gas money it would take. And I think the busyness and responsibilities of life is what gets in the way from adults. So, we make do with occasional trips to the beach, or weekend camping trips in the mountains.

Simplified Life

“That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snoop Lion's song "The Good Good" off of his Reincarnated album is the perfect example of enjoying the simple things in life. The song describes a day that he spends with his girlfriend and how "days like these are days I love." He glorifies the smallest things and describes how they make his day perfect. "I love the way you say my name and how you laugh at all the stupid things I say." Laughter and the voice of the person you love. What is more simple than that? If you can be happy with those two small things then you can live a life full of happiness because you will never need money, or expensive things. He has figured out that money can't buy happiness, but its the simple things in life that give you joy. "Hanging out with you while you hanging hanging on my arm and I like it" "This love is the best love that can ever be and I get high on you and me." Snoop Lion, in this song, is sharing that all you need in life is love and love is enough. The quote "and I get high on you and me" shares a lot I think. People smoke for a momentary euphoria, but Snoop Lion has found something in life that can give him a constant euphoria, and I think that that is what we should all strive to find.

Self Reliance

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

Kanye West is a hip hop artist who has gotten much attention over the last few years because he is so openly self confident and believes that he can create and do anything that he sets his mind to and that is how he shows the Transcendental tenant of self-reliance. Some people see him as cocky and view his self-reliance and self-confidence as a flaw, while other people see it and are inspired by it. In an interview with New York Times he once said "I am so credible, so relevant, and so influential, that I will change things." This quote shows how he uses his self confidence to be self-reliant. He says HE will change things, and he does that by writing and creating all of his own music. He doesn't have thousands of workers helping to give him the songs that have earned him so much success, he does it himself, because he believes in his vision and his creativity. Another example of Kanye's self reliance was his 2008 performance at the Nokia Theatre. While performers, like Rihanna, went on before him with a number of other people for back up vocalists and dancers, Kanye made a point of going on stage alone. He didn't need all of that extra help to make his performance seem incredible, he knew he would make it extraordinary all on his own. Learn to not take offence from Kanye's open belief that he is better than everyone else, learn from it, see his success and realize that maybe being self-reliant and believing you can accomplish all things if you work for it is the way to live your life.

Favoring Intuition Over Reason

“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

Grey's Anatomy is an ABC original show that has taken over the internet and lives of many over the last few years. This show follows a group of doctors and the challenges and triumphs they face. But what makes this show a perfect example of Favoring Intuition over Reason is how often these doctors go against the rules to save some of their patients. One example of this is when one of the doctors married her patient so that he could use her medical insurance, because without the insurance he would not have been able to get a life saving operation. When the chief of surgery found out she did this he was upset because it was fraud, but he saw how much she cared and nothing ever really came of it, even though, in theory, she could have lost her job for what she did. A second example is when doctor Izzie Stevens cut a wire that was connected to one of her patients because as long as that wire was keeping him alive they would not perform a risky surgery that, if successful, would make it possible for him to finally live outside of the hospital. Izzie could have also lost her job doing this, but she believed that the surgery would work and that his life would be better after it because he would finally be able to leave the hospital. A third example is when there was a ticking bomb inside of one of the patients and a doctor had her hand in the wound to try to suppress the bleeding, but once she found out there was a bomb in the wound and any movement she made could make it go off she panicked and removed her hand and ran away, but Doctor Meredith Grey quickly reacted and put her hand in the wound. Doctor Grey knew there was a bomb in there and that it would kill her if it went off, but she still put her hand in the wound to try to help her patient. Most people would find this crazy, but she did it without thinking, its what she felt she had to do, and in the end the bomb squad was able to deactivate the bomb and the doctors were still able to save the patient. These are just a few examples of the doctors in Grey's Anatomy favoring their intuition over their reason.

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