Tyler Mack's Transcendentalism Wiki
Transcendentalism in Events/Movements

Transhumanism
When you first hear about it, transhumanism my sound like something out of a science fiction movie. The term transhumanism was coined by Aldous Huxley in his book A Brave New World. He used the word transhumanism to mean, "man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for hiswta.jpg human nature." F.M. Esfandiary was the first person to identify them self as a transhumanist. He defined a transhumanist as, "one with a lifestyle and a world view intended to move forward along the transition to a time beyond society." This philosophy has very old roots, but is still a circulating idea today. The World Transhumanists Association was formed in 1998 by philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce. The WTA is an international organization pushing for the recognition of transhumanism as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry and public policy.In 2002, the WTA released two formal definitions of transhumanism. The WTA is still an active organization today.Transhumanists believe in advancing technology to a point when people can completely withdraw from society. They can use this highly-advanced technology to be completely self-reliant. They also think that if we use the technology properly, human beings could practically become immortal. The most recent invention to reach the goals of transhumanists was the internet. In countries like China and Iran, the governments were trying to control their citizens communication routes. With the internet, people in those countries have been able to publish online journals and communicate directly to others. In Egypt they used things like twitter to spread word of the revolution. The people now have total control over who they are communicating with.

The transcendental idea in transhumanism are easily seen. First is optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. In Nature, Emerson said, "A man is a God in ruins." Similarly, the transhumanists believe that through technology, humans can approach perfectibility. Transcendentalists also believe in self-reliance. Thoreau took that a step further and thought that it was best for every man to withdraw from society, as can be seen in his action documented in Walden. Thoreau leaves society behind in or to live simply. In "Self-Reliance," Emerson said, "Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." Transhuamists believe that in order to no longer rely on society to live and be completely self-dependent, we need this highly-advanced technology. With it we would be able to withdraw from society and be truly free. This was the goal of Emerson and Thoreau, two of the most famous transcendentalists.

For more information, check out these links:
Transhumanism & The Modern Day Transcendentalists
Transhumanism- Wikipedia
Transhumanist Values

Egypt Shows Transcendental Ideas in 2011 Revolution
revolution6.jpg
Tahrir Square 1st February 2011

Protesting in Egypt began on January 25. The protest were organized by much of the nations youth on social networking websites. What pushed so many protesters to take to the streets were poverty, high unemployment, government corruption, and President Hosni Mubarak's overextended stay as president. Mubarak has held his office for so long that to two-thirds of the Egyptian population, he is the only leader they've had; Mubarak has ruled for 30 years through the declaration of a "continuous state of emergency." The governments first response to the protests was to block Twitter, a major role player in the revolution itself. This was a mistake because it brought the protest to national attention. During the next three days, protesting was not only held in Cairo, but also held in Alexandria and Suez. These three days were more difficult than the last for the protesters, who now had to face the Egyptian riot police. The police arrested and injured hundreds using batons, tear gas, water cannons, and even rubber bullets. In additions, the government now started blocking Facebook as well. On day four, the Egyptian government was now blocking all Internet service in the country, as well as text messaging. Day for also saw the Egyptian military take over the security position from the riot police. For protesters there was still a long road ahead. Protesting would continue for about another two weeks, each day gaining more supporters that the last, until finally Mubarak stepped down on February 11.


more-egypt-revolution21.jpg
Tahrir square, in Cairo, Egypt, 02 February 2011

The Egyptians didn't like what their government was doing, so like Thoreau suggests in "Resistance to Civil Government," they have the right to change this. The Egyptians also used another transcendental idea to make the change they wanted to see: nonviolent resistance. The Egyptian government was taking away the rights of its people, so they wanted a democratic government to be put in place. In "Resistance to Civil Government" Thoreau said, "Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect and that will be one step toward obtaining it." This means that if you want to see a change in your government, then get your opinion out there in an effective and nonviolent manner to get things going. This also leads into another quote from "Resistance to Civil Government" that ties into the previous one flawlessly: "I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name--if ten honest men only--ay, if one HONEST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefore, it would be the abolition of slavery in America." This means that takes just one honest person to make a change. Through the multitude of social networking websites this revolution began to take place starting with just one person. The protesters, like Thoreau, were also willing be arrested for what they believe is right.


Transcendentalism in Popular Culture

"To Plant A Seed" by We Came As Romans

We've planted a seed an ever growing wonder to a beautiful tree, grow

Each branch outstretched and different from the last, from the last

Where the old have broken arms some easier than the last
The right ones have grown in to fill in the gaps
And all are equal in love and trust
And all are a part of something so much bigger than this

Through the trials our tongues are tied
To trying times, so many unsaid lines, so many unsaid lies

Our lives were over at so many moments, so many moments
And now they're all just beginning
And now they're all just beginning
Our lives were over at so many moments

I have never been so consumed and I have never loved it more
To be devoted to letting all see what it is to live in the love of others

To live in the love of my brothers
And spilling back all that anyone has ever spilled for me
To show that to those who have never seen

Four years ago we planted a seed
Found that foundation that we need
Strived for the perfect balance
To show love and show compassion

we_came_as_romans_-_to_plant_a_seed.jpg
And our vision for this world will not die when we are dead
When we are dead

And our vision for this world will not die when we are dead
When we are dead, when we are dead

My future started with the first note that I ever played
The first note that was ever sang
My future started with the first note that I ever played
The first note that was ever sang
The first note that was ever sang

The first note that was ever sang
(When we started living with purpose and writing with meaning)
The first note that was ever sang
(This is what we were made for, every day I live this future)
The first note that was ever sang
The first note that was ever sang

We Came As Romans put a lot of transcendental ideas into the lyrics of "To Plant A Seed." I find that the most profound line is, "Four years ago we planted a seed, found that foundation that we need. Strived for the perfect balance, to show love and show compassion." When I read this line it instantly made be think of Thoreau's quote in Walden about reaching your dreams. He said, "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." The "perfect balance" also shows the transcendental idea of optimism and confidence in human perfectibility. The line "Our lives were over at so many moments...And now they're all just beginning," makes me think of two quotes from Thoreau. The first one being "...awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within..."( Walden). In my interpretation of this song, the "seed" was the spark that led to their lives "just beginning." This interpretation also explains how the song is related another quote from Walden: "Only that day dawns to which we are awake." If you watched the video or merely from the fact that they use nature to represent something with greater meaning, then you can the band showing their respect for and the importance of nature. That is another transcendental idea.

"Strength In Numbers" by In Fear And Faith

This goes out to everyone who is sick and tired
of being prosecuted for being different.
This is more than just a song,
more like a ballad for those who want to be free
and this is about gathering together against the ones who said
that you can't be whoever you want to be.
So are you ready to stand up for yourself
and show the world what you really think.
Then raise your voice and let them know exactly who you are.
This is all of our family cause this right here, this is a family!

I can't believe that this happening
A million others can't breathe
We follow everything I said
These words are words to live by
We have the power, the strength in numbers
Your eyes are open, but can you see without the light?

So do you notice that cut at your side?
Do you feel the pain? Do you feel alive?
We walk these paths side by side
We will be ok, we will be alive1231532073_in-fear-and-faith-your-world-on-fire-2009.jpg

I am who I am, is that so hard?
To realize that we are who we are
You can't live your life, hoping you were wrong
You can follow us and join the thousand strong

And as we gather together
To face the ones who oppose us
We have one thing left to say.

Your time is up now, this is our world.
Your time is up now, this is our world.
Your time is up now, this is our world.
Your time is up now, this is our world.

I should've known that this was happening
Everybody's trembling
Fall to your knees, we are here to stay
This is your last chance to be this way
I can finally say this is the way

This was worth fighting, worth dying for!

The main transcendental idea that I see in this song is nonconformity. You can also see ideas of non-violent resistance, depending on how literally you interpret these lyrics. The whole reason they wrote the song was to defend individuality. This is clearly seen in the first few lines: "This goes out to everyone who is sick and tired of being prosecuted for being different. This is more than just a song, more like a ballad for those who want to be free and this is about gathering together against the ones who said that you can't be whoever you want to be." If you look at what Emerson has to say about nonconformity, a stand out quote is: "Imitation is suicide." This is a powerful quote meaning that if you chose to imitate what others are doing then you are killing your individuality and essentially what makes you who you are. Both Emerson and Thoreau were both huge advocates of nonconformity; Thoreau taking it so personally that he left society to go live in the woods. The lines, "I am who I am, is that so hard? To realize that we are who we are," also show that In Fear And Faith believe strongly in nonconformity. "Then raise your voice and let them know exactly who you are." This line for the song shows nonviolent resistance because they are using their voices to fight those trying to push them into conformity. It reminds me of the quote, "Let your life be a counter-friction to the machine," form Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government."

Works Cited
ALCOR. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.alcor.org/conferences/2006/images/logo-wta.jpg

Bostrom, Nick. "Transhumanists Values." Nickbostrom.com. n.p. n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2011. http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/values.html

Counterfire, "Egyptian Revolution Photos February 2011." Public Intelligence. n.p. 01 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://publicintelligence.net/egyptian-revolution-photos-february-2011/

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resigns." CBS News.com. CBS Interactive Inc. 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/11/501364/main20031504.shtml

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Self-Reliance." Elements of Literature. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989. 194.

In Fear And Faith, "In Fear And Faith - Strength In Numbers." Youtube.com. 19 Jul. 2009. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCf7XqetJrs

In Fear And Faith, "Strenght In Numbers." LyrcisMania. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.lyricsmania.com/strength_in_numbers_lyrics_in_fear_and_faith.html

Kanalley, Craig. "Egyptian Revolution 2011: A Complete Guide to the Unrest." TheHuffingtonPost.com. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/30/egypt-revolution-2011_n_816026.html

Nouri, Nasser. "Egyptian Revolution Photos February 2011." Public Intelligence. n.p. 02 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://publicintelligence.net/egyptian-revolution-photos-february-2011/

Parks, Cara. "What's Going On In Egypt." TheHuffingtonPost.com. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/whats-going-on-in-egypt_n_815734.html

See Ya In The Pit. Web. Mar. 2011 http://talesfromthepit.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/we_came_as_romans_-_to_plant_a_seed.jpg

Thoreau, Henry David. "Resistance to Civil Government." Elements of Literature. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989. 220-24.

Thoreau, Henry David. "Walden." Elements of Literature. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989. 207-18.

"Transhumanism." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 Mar. 2011. Web. 9 Mar. 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism

"Transhumanism & The Modern Day Trancendentalists." Kuro5hin. The Rest. 18 Jul. 2005. Web. 9 Mar. 2011 http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/7/15/215238/231

"TO PLANT A SEED LYRICS - WE CAME AS ROMANS." Lyrics. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. http://www.songlyrics.com/we-came-as-romans/to-plant-a-seed-lyrics/

We Came As Romans, ""To Plant A Seed"(video)." Youtube.com. 20 May 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh7n4TvXt5A

"Your World on Fire." Wikipedia. Rise Records. n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yourworldonfire.jpg