Sunday, November 20, 2011

2 Consequences of a Transcendentalist

Being a transcendentalist, like anything, has its consequences. As I have just recently learned, consequences are not always negative. A transcendentalist experiences both kinds of consequences, negative as well as positive. 

The world is, has always been, and always will be a home to judgmental people. As humans, our first instinct is to judge. Judgement has evolved, as humans themselves have evolved. It used to serve as a method of survival (good thing our ancestors decided to stay away from those dinosaurs!). Now, as our rate of survival has flourished (probably because those pesky dinosaurs are no longer around), our judgement now dictates what is acceptable in society and what is not. As a transcendentalist, you must truly live out your full potential, to be what or who you really are. If you're living a typical life, and trying to be a transcendentalist, mainstream society obviously isn't working for you. However, if you finally do become a transcendentalist, there must be values, thoughts, beliefs, or ideas you have that are underground. The same people whose judgement dictates what is mainstream and what is not will judge you. They will come to the conclusion that you do not live your life like they do; therefore you are not one of them. The overall idea is that you are no longer accepted by society, and people may not respect you for truthfully being who you are.

Transcendentalists are the only people that move society forward. This consequence is a positive one- who wouldn't want to take credit for moving society forward to a better place? If all a society's population conformed to mainstream ideas, society would be stuck at a stand still. However, transcendentalists get over the fact that they are not accepted by society and continue to live and think out of the box. Their new, innovative ideas keep the world going and moving forward. Eventually, their underground ideas receive enough attention that they are no longer considered underground. They are broadcasted into and accepted by society. Then, more transcendentalist ideas are contrived, and they become the new norm. It is a never- ending cycle of new ideas, all thanks to transcendentalists. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Transcendentalist T-Shirt!

            When making my Transcendentalist T-Shirt, the only thing I was worried about was the aesthetics of it. I am a design and color oriented person and excel in most art forms. I also am cursed/blessed with being a perfectionist.  So, as I put the felt tip of my permanent marker to the white cotton fabric, I immediately regretted it.  I then took more time to create a foolproof plan. I wrote down my ideas in advance, picked out acceptable colors, and then came up with a design. After I finished, my fingers locked up and carpal tunnel acting up, it looked a little something like this:
At school, at lunch, the backside, and a messed up Shaka.
The things I fretted about most after I completed it were the few mistakes and misspellings I made. I begged that no one would catch on.

As the day wore on, things got a little uncomfortable. The T-Shirt caught everyone’s eyes: classmates, friends, random people, teachers, and administrators, and I got much unwanted attention (I get enough already!). Everyone wanted to know what was going on, what it was for, and wanted to read everything on it. Their questions and my answers quickly became repetitive. I recall that in a particular hour, Photo, I believe, my friends actually made me stand up, and slowly twirl around in a circle so they could see everything.  However, I loved the fact that people were learning things about me. Even some of my closet friends learned new things about me that day. In the end, it was a great idea, and I had a lot of fun participating in this.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Modern Transcendentalist- Marnie Weber

When thinking of possible transcendentalists for this post, a common reoccurring theme that I found was that many of the possible were artists. They all created- visual art, music, written word. The person I finally settled on was Marnie Weber, known for two of the creative forms above and for her own personality.

In essence, art is about finding a way to express your inner most thoughts and feelings- to expose true emotions. Marnie does just that, by creating works of various medias. Collages, sculptures, photos, and videos are some, just to name a few. In each of her pieces, she explores a type of innocent, fantasy-like surrealism, allowing the viewer to see what she does. Although some may not understand her art, it doesn’t matter. Her works of art are things she believes and sees inside her little world and cares about. If she did not feel this way, then she wouldn’t have chosen to create what she had. From an interview I found online between Marnie and a reputable art blogger, I found an opinion of hers on transcendentalism relating to art. “I am most interested in the artists who are doing things out of love for ideas rather than those who are motivated by their position in the art world.  I like the people who do what they do whether they will get a show or not, artists who work in the contemporary art world who have the same spirit as outsider artists in terms of their own work. I like it when artists have multiple layers of ideas and are working with complex psychological issues rather than just making things that look good. It isn’t always what is popular. So I maneuver through it and seek out what I like and artists who have the same interests.”  I am aware that she, as most artists do, creates her artwork for herself, not for others. The only time Marnie factors others into the business of her artwork is when she shares it with them (also stated in the same interview above) Her works, as they are her innermost beliefs, show her personality as a transcendentalist.
I happen to have the pleasure of knowing Marnie personally. Our families are close family friends, as well as what I have dubbed “kinda-cousins”. Her own persona is one of natural characteristics. She is very easy going- always going with the flow, open minded, gentle, kind, caring, inviting, nurturing, mellow, in a dream-like state, and of the tree hugging type. In the introduction of Marnie Weber by Magasin (the exhibition catalogue), the contributing author felt that “…the presence of Marnie Weber seems very natural”. I spent the last summer with her, and I never once saw her be something she wasn’t. Also, she didn’t act in anyway that did not coincide with the traits listed above.

A photo I took of Marnie & her daughter in Venice, Italy.
In addition to visual art, she also performs and sings in a band. Her old band, The Spirit Girls, is somewhat of a quirky, punky, mysterious exploration of innocence. Her characters are always in costume, expressing themselves. As Marnie states in the same interview, “…I do consider dressing the character in the appropriate clothes for their psychological state”. This is a point of transcendentalism. In the meantime, she has gone on to create a new band called F for Ache, having the same musical tones, but this time dressing herself and her band mates in Amish clothing. If these groups were to be filed based on genre, they would most likely be found under “Unknown”. Both these bands are very different from the norm, and many do not enjoy the sound (I do!). Marnie and her band mates know this, but their passion for it keeps them going. The passion and effort Marnie puts into her band is also what makes her a transcendentalist. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walden Post

        Henry Thoreau lived in a self-induced exile in Walden Pond for 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days, beginning on July 4, 1845. During this time he lived a simple life. He lived in a small simple cabin, with no exquisite things to keep his fancy. He passed his days surviving off his surroundings, playing his flute and recoding his musings in his daily journal. By participating in these humble activities, he was able to experience life in its purest and simplest form. He was able to view the beauty of nature by refraining from indulging in the good life. This idea still pertains to today’s society. In these modern times, life has become complicated. The beauty of life will only be seen again if life is simplified, which will never happen because of the constant invention of new technologies.
        In the present, most everyone individually owns an array of electronic devices.  Continuously being reinvented are cellular devices, tablets, mp3 players, laptop computers, computer themselves, televisions, etc. People that use and have possession of these devices are digitally in tune and are pioneers of a new, digital age. These devices provide comfort and security to their users. Unfortunately, along with the comfort and security are consumerist and frivolous feelings, as well as a barrage of distractions. These devices are supposed to be used to get things done. However, they just seem to upset lives.  Along with access to resources that can help finish tasks, come many and multiple tempting distractions. Eventually, if the distractions were utilized and no self-control was present, eventually people would lose themselves in electronics, not seeing the beauty in life. Being distracted by electronics is one thing, but being distracted by surroundings is something far worse.
        Humans have evolved, and as they have changed, they have made changes to their surroundings as well to best fit their current lifestyle. The surroundings right now are based on consumerism ideals, as materialism has found its way into peoples’ hearts. In Walden, Henry Thoreau urged humans to “Simplify, simplify” (383). However, the human race has decided to turn in the complete opposite direction. The simple, serene and picturesque natural landscapes that Thoreau graced are nowhere to be found.  The majority of locales today are of concrete, urban jungles crawling with bright flashing lights, loud screeching noises and advertisements everywhere. These adverts, since humans are materialistic, try to prompt consumers to buy their frivolous products. These frivolous objects themselves are also something that cannot be simplified in our lives.
Society has begun to manufacture useless and frivolous products. Wealth around the world and the thought that there is excess money has made this possible. In reality, there is no excess wealth. There is only a small percentage of the world that holds the wealth. However, that does not stop the fact that products today are not necessities. Most items today are all a “want”, and people could do without. They are only status symbols and trinkets, and serve no purpose in daily life whatsoever. It is sad that the world today has come to this, where looks are valued more than functionality. Some products today are just stupid, and yet people still desire them.