Mrs. Keeton XXXXXXXXXX English 3-4 January 10, 1997
FINAL DRAFT (TRANSCENDENTALISM)
What would Henry David Thoreau, a transcendentalist in the 19th century, think if he were to visit our society today? I think Mr. Thoreau would be very disappointed at the lack of simplicity like there was in the 1800's, the lack of bonding with nature, and the fast paced speed at which everything has advanced to. With simplicity being the main transcendentalist idea, Thoreau would greatly criticize such advanced things as, the television or the computer. A transcendentalist would believe in the preservance of earth and to take life slow also. Since the 19th century, society has changed; it has seen many technological advances, is currently moving at a much faster pace then the 1800's, and has overgone various environmental issues.
The technological advancements since the 19th century has enabled us to complete common tasks much easier then it was before. The computer for example, has word-processing capabilities that enable us to produce a one page report much faster than it is to write it out. But when the computer breaks, it creates havoc and we get very frustrated and angry at the hunk of metal if front of us. Repair can be frustrating, costly, and time consuming. Typing also prevents us from adding the personal touch to short letters. The handwritten letter is much more personal and shows your respect for the person receiving the letter. While the computer can be a nuisance, the television also has its share of frustrations. Suppose you just got comfortable on the couch, and you change the want to change the channel with the remote. Now, one of two things can happen; it works or it doesn't. If it does not work, you will have to get up every time you want to change the channel or adjust the volume. Not only does the television have the risk of breaking, it also control over people. People frequently make their daily schedule around their favorite television show so they can see it. We have grown accustom to having a television in our living rooms. Is this really necessary? I hope to see the addiction of the time many people waste away at the television set go down because it just wastes time.
Not only is life complicated, but it is also fast-paced. People always want to squeeze in more things in a smaller time frame. An example of the fast paced society of today is the California speed limit that was recently raised from 55 mph to 65 because the natural fast-paced instinct that people want to move fast in our fast moving world. Not only is the freeway an example of the fast moving pace of today, is the shopping mall. The shopping mall lets people shop for what ever they need with a minimal amount of driving because the stores are located together.
The preservation of nature, another transcendentalist idea, also is not happening in our current society. With the population growing and the housing space rapidly depleting, new housing areas must develop. Very uncommonly are there areas for housing that require no tree pulling or cutting to clear an area for development and building. Those trees are what help us breath and an important transcendentalist idea. Nature is a source of truth, relaxation, and companionship. Taking a trip out to the forest to spend a few nights out there can cleanse the body of stress and help the person think. Trees and plants don't just come down because of room, those trees might just as well be used for the house that is going to be built where the tree formerly lived. Clear-cutting can upset the balance of nature by having a large mudslide onto what ever might be below because the roots of trees hold the dirt and debris back. Without trees and dirt on a hillside, the hillside is much more susceptible to mudslides. In short, clear-cutting and housing development by cutting down trees is completely opposite to the transcendentalist idea of preserving nature.
Based on my research and studies, I had concluded that Henry David Thoreau would be tremendously disappointed with the society today, in that since the 19th century, we have undergone many technological advances, sped the pace of life up a lot, and we also have become more industrialized because we have made room from cutting down trees.
Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/tracnscedentalism.php