08 December 2011

Transcendentalism and Minimalism

We've been studying Transcendentalism in my AP English class, and I can't help but notice an abundance of similarities between Transcendentalism and Minimalism, a philosophy that has taken hold recently, and to which my mother is an adherent.
The idea of purging your earthly belongings in order to achieve a greater sense of satisfaction really speaks to me. I like the idea of being portable - not having too many things holding me to one place. Becoming Minimalist and Minimalist Woman are a two lovely minimalist blogs that I was introduced to by mom. 


Misleading information

I read a post that I found quite inspirational on The Tomorrow Museum. She discusses the unreliability of essentially anything you can find on the internet. I found this interesting, because I've had a lot of experience with this recently, hearing the misinformation that people believe is true, because they're trusting the wrong sources, or because they accept what they hear without bothering to fact check. This issue especially concerns me when it comes to politics. The people of my generation are swayed so easily by what the rumors that come from the gossip mill, and this coupled with the fact that they're too lazy to actually verify anything, establishes a very dangerous precedent for when they become old enough to vote. I don't know how many people have told me, with complete sincerity, that they believe Obama shut down NASA, because rather than take the time to watch the readily available video, they elected to believe the false information they heard from their parents, other kids, or inaccurate, sensationalized news coverage.

Into The Wild

Something about this story speaks to me. Am I self-centered, foolish, and unrealistic if I have the same youthful desire to take the words of my favorite authors and philosophers and put them into action? If I have an overwhelming desire to rid myself of my modern, cookie cutter life style, full of material conveniences, and 21st century assurances. What if I want to live ballsy, and see where life takes me when I have nothing to my name, no diplomas or other such pieces of paper assuring my abilities? 
“make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” 

There are a lot of things in my life that we force ourselves to be "conditioned to" because they guarantee security, conformity, and conservation. For instance, school. Don't get me wrong; I wholeheartedly believe that education is a necessity in every individual's life. I also believe that, especially in a democratic nation, every citizen has a responsibility to educate themselves. And I also know that in order to achieve that reality, it is necessary for the government to regulate and require it. 
But that doesn't mean I have to like it. I really believe that life is the best teacher and would love to learn out of curiosity. Ultimately, though, what I took from this book was a desire to live life to its fullest and take every opportunity for adventure.