Transcendentalism: Henry David Thoreau

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Transcendentalism Essay The ideals and structures of the society we live in today clearly contrast with the core ideals of Henry David Thoreau. We rely on seemingly everything but ourselves for information, and we have trampled upon the nature that was so valued by Thoreau. Our rapid technological advancements have improved our lives in countless ways, but many elements of our digital technology would surely garner shame from a dedicated transcendentalist like Thoreau. Furthermore, the citizens of America have allowed for an elected government that Thoreau would believe has grown too powerful and possesses excessive influence over our lives. If Thoreau lived in today’s society, he would be aghast at the abuse of the environment due to industrialization,…show more content…
He believed that the primary source of knowledge was nature itself, so he would likely wonder how we could learn at all in such an industrialized society with nature as a mere backdrop. In Walden, Thoreau stated that “Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity… with Nature herself.” Thoreau believed that nature was positively essential for living a simple life, and that we could find endless knowledge through nature. He would likely despise our suburban neighborhoods and processed goods, as they contrast completely with the idea of simplicity and living in accordance with nature. We involve ourselves in each other’s lives, but never spend time exploring nature and searching for knowledge. As he mentioned in Walden, Thoreau truly wanted us to “resign ourselves to the influence of the earth,” yet we desire to fill every speck of land with homes and buildings. Thoreau’s vision of an existence with nature bears little resemblance to our urban society; Thoreau would surely despise our lack of respect for…show more content…
Today, the bureaucratic American government exerts widespread influence over the American people through economic policies, high tax rates, and even blatant spying. If Thoreau were a registered voter living today, I do not believe he would even want to vote for any politicians, although he would probably associate with the Libertarian movement that advocates for personal freedoms. However, Libertarians represent a miniscule portion of our overall government, which Thoreau would surely not support. Thoreau believed that citizens should revolt if the government gained too much control. If Thoreau were alive today, there is a likely chance that he would advocate strongly for civilians to speak out against the government, as he surely did not foresee a government this bloated and
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