American Transcendentalism
Posted: 19 April 2009 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m a big fan of Henry David Thoreau & R.W. Emerson, among others. I think some of their ideas, such as self reliance & simplicity, are much needed in today’s world.  Does anyone have any thoughts about the Transcendentalist movement & ideas?  What about in respect to humanism, freethinking, etc.?

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“A lie preserved in stained glass doesn’t make it more true.” - Saul Williams

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Posted: 19 April 2009 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m ambivalent about HDT in particular. I was a huge fan in high-school but as I’ve mellowed with age I’ve come to see him as a little naive and self-indulgent. Running away from the world as he did, and uncompromising stands on every small issue seem unrealistic for most of us interested in changing the world. Still, I agree that as a society simplifying our needs and desires would go a long way to improving our well being. And certainly, you have to share a certain fellow feeling with others out of step with the cultural mainstream, as we here seem to be in many ways.

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Posted: 19 April 2009 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Konsciious - 19 April 2009 07:13 AM

I’m a big fan of Henry David Thoreau & R.W. Emerson, among others. I think some of their ideas, such as self reliance & simplicity, are much needed in today’s world.  Does anyone have any thoughts about the Transcendentalist movement & ideas?  What about in respect to humanism, freethinking, etc.?

Yeah buddy good for you! Mc kenz is right, you can’t hide from the world. However, there are many good lessons to be taken from Thoreau and his little experiment. His actions may come into question, but the thoughts that sprung from his writings can bring you many questions about life. Everyone, should have a grasp of Transcendentalism. BUT…they’re not gonna. Only a small percent of society will ever grasp the concepts.(others may get an inkling).
I think you are getting the idea. Take it, along with other things, and build a well-rounded grasp of reality. Above all Dude, learn a Trade, or a proffession. Use your mind to make a living.( I mean money). I myself followed the ideals of transcendentalism, and existentialism too much, too far. I squandered time and resources—don’t forget this. grin

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 19 April 2009 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Here’s a theory for you: in our youth, we all fall in love with some book. For me, as with Konsciious and many others, it was Walden. For some, it’s Atlas Shrugged. For some, it’s Lord of the Rings (!).

Then later we get old and cynical and start reading The Economist instead.

Sure, Thoreau was wrong about a great many things, but I still love the idea of letting the state run amok against you rather than the other way around. And he has some great quotes in there, such as the difference between patrons of virtue and the virtuous man, or the bit about newspapers (warning: lousy memory): “If we hear of one ship lost, or one revolution in Spain, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, we need know of no more; the principle is enough.”

Or “A man struggles all his life to get a house, and when at last he gets it, he discovers that it is the house that has gotten him.”

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Posted: 19 April 2009 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Or “A man struggles all his life to get a house, and when at last he gets it, he discovers that it is the house that has gotten him.”

Yeah.. that one definitely applies to me.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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