Hippies and Transcendentalism Essay

Hippies and Transcendentalism Essay

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Transcendentalism is a belief that centers itself on the mutual benefit of humanity and the environment, and this idea has had reoccurring effects on societies all over the world since its prominence in the mid 1800’s. The American counter-culture movement of the 1960’s is a prime example of revived transcendentalist ideas. One group in particular, the hippies, are notorious for their advocacy for free thought, love, and peace, not to mention to their staunch resistance to war and belligerent action. The influence of transcendentalism is visible and the ideas of popular thinkers had a bigger impact than they ever expected.
Henry David Thoreau was a major contributor to the transcendentalist movement; his greatest works are explicitly influential to the ideology of hippies. His most revered work was inspired by his adventure to Walden Pond in which he attempts to awaken and enlighten his mind. In his book Walden he tells us to “spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that’s falls on the rails” . Here Thoreau is explaining that life should be lived not at a frantic pace but at a pace that would suffice to link the mind and nature as one, from this the hippies gathered that they should lose themselves in the natural processes of nature. Hippies did not stop picking credos there, Thoreau’s “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” from Walden was good enough to create an entirely new lifestyle for this time-period. From this point large groups of counter-culturists began to congregate in San Francisco and share their ideas with one another. Slouching around was not on the American agenda as the Vietnam War was being fiercely contested at the time, nevertheless Thorea...


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...s, 1854.) 12.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Thoughts on Modern Literature,” The Dial 1.1 01 Jan. 1840: 30-33
John Lennon
Robert D. Richardson, Emerson: Mind on Fire: a Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) 245-251.
Tom Hayden, “Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, 1962” Michigan State University, 1962, May 28, 2014 http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/huron.html.
Henry David Thoreau, On The Duty of Civil Disobedience. (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.) 8.
H. Patricia Hynes, Silent Spring (New York City; Pergamon Press, 1989) 3.

Henry David Thoreau, On The Duty of Civil Disobedience. (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854.) 9.
Addie Baxter, ”Hippies were outspoken, anti-war activist and anything but slacker” Reading Eagle, Jan 1, 2010, May 28, 2014 http://www2.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=183468

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