TRANSCENDENTALISM Caiden Bretz

1) What is Transcendentalism?

Transcendentalism is defined as a philosophical and social movement, that originated in New England around the mid 1800s, caused by rationalism. Being mainly influenced by romanticism, it said that god and relations to god existed throughout everything in our society. This philosophy was pushed mainly by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Emerson and Thoreau both wrote of escaping society and it norms and stereotypes. Emerson was around first and wrote what he thought needed to practiced and learned by others. Thoreau, who came later, was inspired by Emerson's writing and began to practice what he wrote about.

In Emerson's story, Nature, he states that when he went into solitude, to attempt tranquility. To Emerson, transcendentalism is about freeing yourself from society's hold backs, and to explore nature for yourself.

Overall, transcendentalism is an idea that society does not allow individuals to be exactly what they want, because of certain regular behaviors expected. So, it states that going to be isolated and alone will help you become free of all of that.

2) Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an author that lived around the mid 1800s, that wrote mainly of transcendental ideas and beliefs. He wrote of individualism, self-reliance, optimism, and intuition. In the story Self-Reliance he says, "... that envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse". Here Emerson is stating that being jealous of others and following what other do is not good will end up killing your own thoughts and personality. He is saying that you must be your own person, live individually, in order to actually live. He also says "but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." In this quote he is saying that a man within a crowd of people does not depend on others to bring him company, he provides happiness by keeping to himself and valuing solitude. Emerson talks about optimism when he writes "Yes it is certain that the power to produce this delight does not reside in nature, but in man". The simple beauty of nature cannot create happiness and beauty within a man. He must also be positive and want to willingly experience nature's beauty, by keeping his head up. Finally, intuition is shows through the quote "It needs a divine man to do anything divine. " A man who has the sense and knows what to do, will go about and do it, because of an urge he feels. His intuition will lead him to it, and make sure he will complete it.

3) Thoreau practicing Emerson

Thoreau was another author that lived in the mid 1800s. He also wrote about transcendental ideas. Mainly inspired by Emerson. Thoreau wrote of what he believed to be transcendentalism, with parts of Emerson's original ideas mixed in. In Nature by Emerson, he said "To go into solitude a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society." Because Emerson gave instructions on how to experience nature and real solitude, Thoreau took his advice. He bought a cabin, far from society, and lived there, alone for months. He wrote about what happened there and realized that solitude does not cure the repetition and imitations in society. Thoreau found himself repeating his everyday life, even when alone. Thoreau looked up to Emerson as a writer and philosopher. He saw him a role model and chose to accept his teachings.

4) Civil Disobedience by Thoreau

In Civil Disobedience Thoreau writes about how ones conscience can be and is a better choice when certain decisions must be made. Especially with specific choices made by the government. A type of situation that would require conscience over law would be something like what is happening in Standing Rock right now. Many people are camped out in Oceti Sakowin to protest a potential pipeline that would pollute many people's drinking water. For awhile many people were unaware of these protests because many people in the government wouldn't allow it to break out to the news. This is an example of where conscience should've outweighed law, because people deserved the right to know and not be shrouded by the government forcing and taking.If the law had not won out and created a secret out of this the the protests would not have gotten this extreme. Some higher powers in the government knew what the correct thing to do was, but did not want to lose their authority and reputation, so they did not release the information, and caused a catastrophe.

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/15/505658553/pipeline-spill-adds-to-concerns-about-dakota-access-pipeline

5) Transcendentalism within Point Break

Within the film Point Break many examples of transcendentalism are expressed modernly, and represent the original ideas of Emerson's ideas and the philosophy him and many others practiced, through the stunts and other things that are done in this movie.

Point Break is a Hollywood film that came out in 2015. It's main plot was about a group of people attempting to achieve nirvana. In this specific movie it was called the Ozaki 8, which was a list of eight "ordeals", that after completed would honor the forces of nature. To this group, achieving nirvana would mean total peace in the mind and soul, as well as an example for the rest of the world watching their bizarre stunts. They were to do this by testing the limits of their body and mind in extreme conditions and events. The antagonist, Bodhi was trying to complete these ordeals, to please mother nature. While the protagonist was chasing after Bodhi, because he was a criminal, he soon realized that what he was doing was correct in the eyes of the greater beings, and found it hard to go against him. As Bodhi was on his last ordeal, the protagonist found him in the ocean. Bodhi did not make it after he finally finished the Ozaki 8. After Utah realized that his lost friend had completed the ordeals he realized why he was after them in the first place. Bodhi had known Ono Ozaki, and witnessed him die while attempting to complete the ordeals himself. Bodhi felt as though he needed to finish what he started, and become one with nature and the rest of the world.

Similar to what Emerson said, "A hero is no different than an ordinary man, but he is braver for five more minutes." The 4 men in this movie grew up as regular children. They were just around different people that gave them different ideas. It was their choice to train and test their own limits to perform stunts that seem impossible and amazing to most people like us. They also had a motive that many people do not even think of, peace at mind, and with god. But, to them, it seemed like to the correct thing to do and it was normal.

Credits:

Created with images by Unsplash - "starry night pine trees snow" • Dennis Valente - "Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote" • ChrisA1995 - "Nature"

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