“Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something, which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.” (Emerson) (Nina et al, 1094)
In this quote, Emerson urges people to remain themselves at all times. He insists on people obeying their natural instincts, trusting in their intrinsic abilities and doing the things that they can do best. He believes that by so doing everyone will be able to rely in him/herself.
The 2010 hit movie The A-Team created by Stephen Cannell and Frankl Lupo, perfectly captures the theme of self-reliance as stated by Emerson. The movie stars four members of the Special Forces who were imprisoned wrongly. They escape prison and set out to clear their names of wrongdoing in the best way they knew how.
The film The A-Team depicts a group of 4 men who used their utmost creativity to escape from prison and later clear their names. The first to escape is John “Hannibal” Smith and he uses his wit, friendliness, bravery and daredevil instincts and to rescue his friends Faceman, BA and Murdock. The film’s stars led by Hannibal exhibit absolute self-confidence and self-reliance with each playing his part perfectly to achieve individual liberty and ultimately the liberty of the team.
Importance of Nature
“Nature spontaneously keeps us well. Do not resist her!” David Thoreau (Nina et al, 950)
In this quote, David Thoreau urges people to recognise the importance of nature. He acknowledges that we should all give credit to nature for our well-being. Moreover, we should embrace nature. In this, Thoreau urges people to conserve the general environment and specifically that, which exist naturally.
An article by Sarah Lonsdale in the Daily Telegraph echoes Thoreau’s assertions. The popular English newspaper published Lonsdale’s article titled “Eco living: clean your house the natural way” on 13 February 2014. In the article, she urges people to resort to traditional and natural cleaners such as bicarbonate soda, vinegar, and lemon juice instead of chemical-based cleaning agents. According to Lonsdale, the use of natural products significantly minimizes chances of people contracting allergies, asthma, eczema and other disorders.
Lonsdale article stamps the Thoreau’s quote on nature written hundreds of years ago. The more people use the natural resources as Lonsdale has advised in her article, the more they keep themselves healthy or well. People should embrace the use of natural products and use them responsibly.
"It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events, or of actors that imports." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nina et al, 1080)
Socialization was part of Ralph Waldo’s main assertions in his transcendentalist teachings. This quote shows that any moment people get to come together is precious. Issues such as the length (number of days), actors, and events in any social gathering should not determine quality of socialization.
Henry Hampton’s 2006 film Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement is a documentary that tells the story of Americans; their issues, events and struggles of the civil rights movement from the mid 1950s to the 1980s. It captures details of the socialization of typical Americans.
The assertions in Emerson’s quote that “it is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events” are quite evident in the film Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement. The film captures the essence of the American people without giving much thought to the issues, events, period and actors. This according to Emerson is the essence of socialization and as such, the film perfectly befits as a contemporary pop culture item that exemplifies Emerson’s quote on the issue.
"That government is best which governs least" David Thoreau (Nina et al, 924)
David Thoreau said the above words to call for minimal government interference into people’s affairs. In these words, Thoreau seems to be calling for more leadership from the government rather than management or governorship. Probably, respect for people’s privacy as well as improved democratic space and economic opportunities were what Thoreau had in mind when he stated these powerful words.
Charles Brooks 2013 book “The Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year: 2013 Edition” contains more than four hundred clever, provocative, and satirical cartoons on taxation, healthcare policies, government control of gun ownership, abortion, drugs among several other issues. In all, the cartoonists seem to be angered by the governments’ intrusion into people’s affairs or its failure to play its leadership and unification roles.
The cartoons contained in the Brook’s book, transcend liberal to conservatism ideas and no subject is off limits. The chief message passed on to the readers of the book is that the government should “govern less”. This message echoes Thoreau’s quote.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly. –Thoreau (Nina et al, 943)
David Thoreau’s quote clearly states that in order for human beings to live freely, achieve their potential and acquire timeless honour from generations to come, they must not allow themselves to be preoccupied by material wealth.
This quote compares perfectly with the Hollywood Blockbuster movie “Wolf of Wall Street”. This captivating drama by Martin Scorsese captures the life of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker who engaged in corruption and fraud in the 1990s. The movie shows how Belfort got so rich and materialistic that he lives a reckless life of drugs, prostitution, imprisonment, and alcoholism. He does all these after divorcing a caring wife and at the expense of a happy, family-bound, and noble life.
As depicted in the movie, Belfort had an opportunity to create an enviable and noble family life but he led preoccupation with materialism and money get the better of him and suffered the consequences. Incarceration, drugs, blacklisting at work and desertion by his second wife and all prevented Belfort from living freely and nobly as recommended by Thoreau.
“The quality of the imagination is to flow and not to freeze” Emerson. (Nina et al, 1046)
Emerson said these words to assert free thought. He meant that quality imaginations come about when the one is thinks many interrelated things; the flow of thoughts. The quality of thoughts means that those thoughts can yield solutions to make the world and humanity better that it is now. “Freezing imagination” insinuates absence of free thought.
The song The Ecstasy of Free Thoughts by Thinkman bears Emerson’s sentiments. A part of the song released in 2011 goes, “you’re trapped by information, just let it go, the key hangs with yours senses, set the prisoner free”. This assertion urges people to follow free thoughts to generate quality thoughts.
The lyrics to the song The Ecstasy of Free Thoughts urges people to practise free thing and to set themselves free from being trapped by information.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Nina et al, 1104)
Emerson meant that human beings should seek to establish their own identities and chart their own unique and individualistic courses. Leaving a trail means that people will influence the lives of other people and make humanity better.
The lyrics to the song “individuality” written by Charles Thompson in 2001, urge people to chart their own course. A part of the song goes, “Don’t let them try to tell you how to live your life..Be proud of who you areYou can be whatever you want to be”.
The song “individuality” urge people not to fear trending on their own courses. It states that everyone can become what he or she wants and this insinuates that one can chart a completely new path if that is where their dream leads them.
Nina Baym, et al, The Norton Anthology of American Literature (Eighth Edition) (Vol. Package 1: Vols. A & B). 2011. Print.