Transcendentalism in the Twentieth-Century: The Unknown Rebel-
In June of 1989, on Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, a man took a stand and no one knew who he was, or why he was doing it. The tanks tried manuevering around the man, but in response the man continually stepped in the tanks path, taking
Unknown Chinese protester before tanks at Tiananmen Square
Unknown Chinese protester before tanks at Tiananmen Square

nonviolent actions. He then had a conversation with the man in charge of the lead tank. As they got ready to move forward, the man jumped back into their way. Two men then came out of the crowed and pulled the man out of the way. The mysterious man was later named as a 19 year-old student, named Wang Weilin. He was then charged with "political hooliganism." There are many stories about what happened to him afterwards. He was suposedly executed 14 days later, executed by a firing squad, and some say still alive, but hiding in the mainlands.

Just as Thoreau was willing to go to jail for what he thought was right, so did Weilin by standing in front of those tanks. He showed nonconformity by stepping in front of the tanks for what he believed, even though nobody was there to back him up. In Self-Reliance, Emerson said, "It needs a divine man to exhibit anything divine." That's an example of self-reliance itself, which obviously this "unknown man" showed in his actions. Emerson also said, "Trust thyself," in Self-Reliance. Weilin must have trusted himself while standing in front of those tanks, since he had no clue what the outcome could have been.

Transcendentalism in the Twenty-First Century: 2009 Ashura Protests-
In June of 2009, it was claimed that the Iranian presidential election was rigged. In response to the election were the Ashura protests. This was a series of protests on December 27, 2external image 21534_222993649453_45061919453_2930578_6080143_n.jpg009, in Iran. What was planned as nonviolent protesting took a turn for the worst. Security forces opened fire on those protesting. The fact that this took place on the Shi'a holy day of Ashura was shocking. The day clearly forbid any form of violence, yet the government ignored that.

I could see how this would relate to Emerson's idea of nonviolent resistance, since the Iranian people had planned nonviolent protests, and were attacked in response. The actions taken also go along with Emerson's statement from Self-Reliance, "A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best," since one of the websites says, "Everyone watching was stunned. The Green Movement had actually WON!" Then going along with Thoreau's own actions that he had taken. The article says, "There are still many who are willing to be beaten, or arrested, or who are willing to starve themselves, just to achieve a free Iran." Just as Thoreau went to jail for following what he believed.

Transcendentalism in Popular Culture: "I Hope You Dance" by Leeann Womack-
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
Album Cover, Released in 2001.
Album Cover, Released in 2001.

But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance


And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance


I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance


And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)


I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance


And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)


(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)


These lyrics, performed by Leeann Womack, reflect a few of Transcendentalism's interests. It's apparent that she is trying to send a message to someone else, and her message is to live life to the fullest, to do what you want, and have no regrets. Optimism of Transcendentalism is reflected when she says, "When one door closes, I hope one more opens." Just as Emerson did by saying, "Trust Thyself," in Self-Reliance. She has two verses containing self-reliance that stick out to me. They are, " Never settle for the path of least resistance," also, "When you come close to selling out, reconsider." She is saying to never settle, but instead strive for what you're really capable of; don't let anyone tear down your confidence, and trust yourself. In Walden, Thoreau states, "To be awake is to be alive." He is saying you won't accomplish anything without trying. I think that is similar to this songs message. She is saying to actually go out and "dance." Don't just sit back and watch life pass you by, make something out of yours. In Self-Reliance, Emerson said, "Absolve you to yourself and you shall have the suffrage of the world," as an example of nonconformity. This goes along with the songs idea of doing what's best for you, and to never be afraid by the world around you.

Transcendentalism in Popular Culture: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley-
"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Three Little Birds Was Released in 1980.
Three Little Birds Was Released in 1980.

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"


Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")


Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"


Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"


Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry!
"'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."


Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right" - I won't worry!
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, oh no!
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!


These lyrics, performed by Bob Marley, reflect a few of Transcendentalism's interests. It's obvious that his message is not to worry because everything will be all right. That goes along with Thoreau's idea of optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. In Walden, Thoreau said "I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear..." which is showing his optimism towards life. In this song, Marley says, "Smiled with the risin' sun," showing that he is glad for another day, proving his optimism towards life. Emerson said "Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world," in Self-Reliance. I see parallels between that statement and Marley's main focus, not to worry. They're both forms of nonconformity. If you absolve to yourself, you won't have to worry, since you are just being yourself. Lastly, Bob Marley's verse, "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright," reflects upon something yet again. Emerson's statement, "Trust thyself," shows that if you trust yourself, and "don't worry, everything will be alright." That is another example of optimism and confidence in human perfectibility that comes from Self-Reliance.

Work Cited-
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"I HOPE YOU DANCE Lyrics - LEE ANN WOMACK." Song Lyrics. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. http://www.elyrics.net/read/l/lee-ann-womack-lyrics/i-hope-you-dance-lyrics.html.

"Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance CD Album." CD Universe - Your Online Music Store. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1250187/a/I Hope You Dance.htm.

"Three Little Birds." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 01 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Little_Birds.

"Three Little Birds Lyrics - Bob Marley." Lyrics, Song Lyrics – LyricsFreak.com. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/bob marley/three little birds_20021728.html>.

Franklin, Stuart. "Top 10 Nonviolent Protests - Photo Essays - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1887394_1861266,00.html>.

Iyer, Pico. "The Unknown Rebel - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 13 Apr. 1998. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,988169,00.html.

"Tank Man." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_Man.

Iyer, Pico. "TIME 100: The Unknown Rebel." Time Inc. Portal. 18 Apr. 1998. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://205.188.238.109/time/time100/leaders/profile/rebel.html>.

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