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Title: PowerPoint Presentation Author: Tom Moody Last modified by: Tom Moody Created Date: 8/17/2006 12:33:18 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pleasantville:

  • Pleasantville
  • Everyone has a unique self, a nature.
  • You should discover who you are, what that self
    is like.
  • You should have be who you are
  • Conventional society will hake it hard for you
    if you do
  • But you should have the integrity and courage to
    be who you
  • are anyway
  • you shouldnt put the gray makeup back on
  • you shouldnt make deals about what colors youll
  • paint with
  • If you do have the courage to be who you are, it
    may be
  • Contagious. Society may change to conform to you.
  • These are powerful enduring ideas in our culture.
  • Where did they come from?

The traditional culture1. Puritanism2.
Protestant work ethic3. Natural gender roles
In modern usage, the word puritan is often used
as an informal pejorative for someone who has
strict views on sexual morality, disapproves of
recreation, and wishes to impose these beliefs on
others. . . . As Mark Twain once said A
Puritan is someone who is Haunted by the fear
that someone, somewhere, is having A good
time. The popular image oversimplifies
Puritanism, but gives us a Reasonable caricature
of Puritans in colonial America, who were among
the most radical Puritans and whose social
experiment took the form of a Calvinist theocracy.
Puritans believed they had a covenant with
God This covenant required them to be a godly
people If lived up to, God would reward them--on
this earth It was essential then that Puritans
police the morality, the behavior, the religious
beliefs of its members It was a theocracy the
rule of a a religious elite according To
religious beliefs. It was a community that
stressed conformity to a single Set of beliefs
and behavior It was not a community that allowed
for individualism or Deviance from the accepted
  • Jonathan Edwards's fearsome "Sinners in the
    Hands of an Angry God". . . defined the role of
    the individual
  • 1. to subordinate oneself to the doctrine of
    the community, to conform to the values of the
  • 2 to live for the future salvation not present
  • 3. To accept the authority of others as ones
    own truth

In Puritan New England, the family was the
fundamental unit of society, the place where
Puritans rehearsed and perfected religious,
ethical, and social values and expectations of
the community at large. The English Puritan
William Gouge wrote a familie is a little
Church, and a little common-wealth, at least a
lively representation thereof, whereby triall
may be made of such as are fit for any place of
authoritie, or of subjection in Church or
commonwealth. Or rather it is as a schoole
wherein the first principles and grounds of
government and subjection are learned whereby
men are fitted to greater matters in Church or
common-wealth. Authority and obedience
characterized the relationship between Puritan
parents and their children. Proper love meant
proper discipline.
Mill expressed the Puritan notion this way The
one great offense of man is self-will. All the
good of Which humanity is capable is comprised
in obedience. You have no choice thus you must
do and no otherwise. whatever is not a duty is
sin. Human nature being Radically corrupt,
there is no redemption for anyone Until human
nature is killed within him. --from On
Liberty, ch. 3
The Franklin work ethic the self-made man
1. Work hard do not waste time 2. Aim for
worldly successwealth 3. Delay gratification 4.
Be practical. 5. Take responsibility for oneself
rugged individualism
  • FWE modified Puritanism
  • It accepted practicality and hard work agreed
    that time
  • Should not be wasted on frivolities.
  • 2. It substituted worldly success for Puritan
    success in the next world. (Puritans did tend to
    see worldly success as a sign of
  • salvation.
  • 3. It agreed that gratification should be delayed
    but not until the
  • next life. Gratification will come in this life
    if one works hard.
  • 4. It inverted the Puritan notion of community
    responsibility for
  • The welfare and salvation of all. Instead it
    argued that each
  • Individual was on his own, responsible for his
    own success.
  • One was no longer expected to look after others
    nor to expect
  • Them to look after one. They were no longer their
  • Keepers.

Ben Franklin popularized and epitomized the
legend of the Self-Made Man, and its corollary
idea that America was the Land of Opportunity,
where anyone who worked hard and used his (and
sometimes her) head could get ahead in the
world. Any boy could grow up to be President.
Anyone could make the climb from Rags to Riches.
Characteristically this climb was done alone,
one stood on one's own two feet, and lifted
oneself by the bootstraps. One's success (or
failure) depended on oneself and oneself only.
This typical American individualism is due
largely to Franklin as well. More than any other
single myth this idea that what America was about
was the prospect of individual prosperity and
wealth has governed our idea about who we are.
If anything this preoccupation with wealth has
intensified in the 200 years since Ben Franklin.
Wherever this ethos prevails, romanticism grows
in opposition..
The maxims of Franklins Poor Richards
Almanack celebrated the virtues of hard work,
sobriety, moderation, thrift and
It was a production ethic. The great virtues it
taught were industry, foresight, thrift and
personal initiative. The workman should be
industrious in order to produce more for his
employer he should look ahead to the future he
should save money in order to become a
capitalist himself Then he should exercise
personal initiative and found new factories
where other workmen would toil industriously, and
save, and become capitalists in their turn.
De Tocqueville reported at about the time of the
first Romantics The American is devoured by the
longing to make his fortune it is the unique
passion of his life he has. . . no inveterate
habits, no spirit of routine he is the daily
witness of the swiftest changes of fortune, and
is less afraid than any other inhabitant of the
globe to risk what he has gained in the hope of
a better future, for he knows that he can
without trouble create new resources
again...Everybody here wants to grow rich and
rise in the world, and there is no one but
believes in his power to succeed in that.
Democracy in America 2 vols 1835, 1840
Frances Trollope reported in the early 19c
on Some of the results of the combination of
the Puritan ethic and Franklins maxims, which
Included a penny saved is a penny earned. I
never saw a population so totally divested of
gayety. They have no fetes, no fairs, no
merrimaking, no music in the streets...If they
see a comedy or a farce, they may laugh at it,
but they can do very well without it and the
consciousness of the number of cents that must
be paid to enter a theater, I am very sure turns
more steps from its door than any religious
In a famous lecture of the late 19c called "the
Gospel of Wealth" Baptist minister Russell
Crowell said Never in the history of the world
did a poor man without capital have such an
opportunity to get rich quickly and honestly as
he has now. I say that you ought to get rich and
it is your duty to get rich. How many of my pious
brethren say to me, "Do you, a Christian
minister, spend your time going up and down the
country advising young people to get rich, to
get money?"Yes, of course I do." They say Isn't
that awful! Why don't you preach the gospel
instead of preaching about man's making money?"
Because to make money honestly is to preach the
Toward the end of the 19th century the name
Horatio Alger became synonymous with the idea of
Rags-to-Riches anyone no matter how poor
could rise to wealth and success in America.
Edward Said says of his Palestinian father living
in Cairo My father was ruled by the practice of
self-making... he came to represent...rationalisti
c discipline and repressed emotions, and all
this had impinged on me my whole life...In me
remains his relentless insistence on doing
something useful, getting things done, never
giving up, more or less all the time. I have no
concept of leisure or relaxation, and more
particularly, no sense of cumulative
Rugged individualism The belief that all
individuals, or nearly all individuals, can
succeed on their own and that government help
for people should be minimal. --The New
Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.
1. Women as lesser men2. Difference3. Separate
Gender traditionalism
pre-industrial society set definite standards of
gender . . . There was no sense of evolution in
gender relationships. They seemed fixed by God
and by history. . . Most people Believed that men
and women had unalterable God-given roles. Model
1 Puritanism The relation of women to men was
frequently explained on the Model of the Great
Chain of Being, with woman appearing as A sort of
inferior man, with similar but lesser abilities
and Qualities. Women were also seen as innately
evil, on the model Of Eve tempting men into sin
by their sexuality. Model 2 Difference Toward
the end of the 18th century, understandings of
gender Shifted, sharply, to stress the difference
between men and Women. . . . Because of womans
God-given innate sexual Essence, she had a
uniquely feminine nature
By the end of the 19th century this had become
Model 3 separate spheres Men and women each
had their own natural sphere where they were
properly dominant. Mens sphere was the public
World of work and politics. Womens sphere was
the private Sphere of the home and
family. Women (and men) who tried to rebel
against these natural roles were condemned as
unnatural,not true women and so on.
(No Transcript)
Traditional Wisdom
  • Live for the future (sacred or secular) delay
  • Subordinate oneself to ones community
  • Women are different than men and shouldstay in
    their proper place
  • Accept the authority of others as ones own
  • Aim for worldly successwealth
  • Work hard do not waste time nose to the
  • grindstone
  • 6. Be practical, not a dreamer Rationalistic
  • 7. Repress emotions they are not useful
  • 8. Repress ones nature it is corrupt
  • 9. Take responsibility for oneself rugged

What we find then is that at any give period
there is a Dominant traditional and conventional
morality a set of Pre-designed scripts that
people are supposed to follow In living their
lives. And there is a majority of
people--defenders of the status quo, The
Establishment, the orthodox, the conservative (in
the Traditional sense), the conventional--who
live by those scripts, Defend their validity and
universality, and attempt to impose Them on
These orthodox scripts broadly include Adherence
to traditional gender roles family structure A
belief in working hard at conventional jobs and
getting ahead a belief that life success is
defined by success at work. A fairly
restrictive sexual morality centering sex
around marriage a condemnation of homosexuality
or unorthodox sexual activities of any kind A
tendency to want to impose conventional morality
on everyone and to condemn those who do not
follow it a belief that correct morality is
defined by the community or by an orthodox
religion and a condemnation of freedom of moral
choice for individuals. Adherence to one of the
conventional religious denominations. A rather
cautious unadventurous outlook on life. A belief
in obedience and respect for authority. A
skepticism or negativism about human nature
leading to a belief that people need to be
fairly tightly controlled.
But we find that there is a countercurrent to
this Orthodox view of life in America, to the
American Dream As so defined. This
counterculture, is broadly defined
by Individualism in morality and a belief in
individual freedom of conscience and morality
tolerance-live and let live attitude toward
others A belief in the goodness of human
nature. A belief that people should be allowed to
develop that nature into a unique character even
if that results in violating conventional
behavior. A belief in nonconformity. A rejection
of conventional gender roles, sexual behavior,
and religiosity A rejection of conventional
work in favor of rewarding challenging avocations
(art is typical). A belief in expressing rather
than suppressing emotions A refusal to defer
gratification into the future seize the day An
adventurous anything goes attitude toward
life Disrespect for authority unless it is
We can find the first traces of this
counterculture within Puritanism itself This
was the antinomianism of Anne Hutchinson When
the Puritan elders were busy consolidating their
Authority, she denied they had any and argued
That the only authority was the unmediated
power of the Holy Ghost in their souls Thus she
was the first important American figure to
speak For the sacredness of the individual
conscience as a guide To how one should live and
to defy the right of the orthodox To tell her how
to live.
Anne Hutchinson began meeting with other women
for prayer and religious discussion. Her
charisma and intelligence soon also drew men,
including ministers and magistrates, to her
gatherings, where she developed an emphasis on
the individual's relationship with God,
stressing personal revelation over
institutionalized observances and absolute
reliance on God's grace rather than on good
works as the means to salvation. Hutchinson's
views challenged religious orthodoxy, while her
growing power as a female spiritual leader
threatened established gender roles. Hutchinson
claimed direct revelation from God and argued
that "laws, commands, rules, and edicts are for
those who have not the light which makes plain
the pathway,"
While both sexes carried the stain of original
sin, for a girl, original sin suggested more than
the roster of Puritan character flaws. Eves
corruption, in Puritan eyes, extended to all
women, and justified marginalizing them within
churches' hierarchical structures. An example is
the different ways that men and women were made
to express their conversion experiences. For full
membership, the Puritan church insisted not only
that its congregants lead godly lives and exhibit
a clear understanding of the main tenets of their
Christian faith, but they also must demonstrate
that they had experienced true evidence of the
workings of Gods grace in their souls. Only
those who gave a convincing account of such a
conversion could be admitted to full church
membership. Women were not permitted to speak in
church after 1636 (although they were allowed to
engage in religious discussions outside of it, in
various women-only meetings), thus could not
narrate their conversions.
In addition to stepping outside the bounds of
conventional women's behavior, her denunciation
of the colony's ministers and her belief that
"he who has God's grace in his heart cannot go
astray" set her at odds with the religious
establishment. They moved to prosecute the woman
Massachusetts's new governor, John Winthrop,
criticized for having "a very voluble tongue,
more bold than a man." According to Harvard
professor Rev. Peter J. Gomes, at her trial "she
bested the best of the Colony's male preachers,
theologians, and magistrates." Despite her
vigorous defense of her beliefs, she was
excommunicated and banished in 1638, and moved
with her family and other followers to Rhode
Island. She is considered one of the founders of
that colony, the first to establish complete
separation of church and state and freedom of
religion in what would become the United States.
The trial of Anne Hutchinson 1638
Hutchinson denied the power of authorities over
her or Her soul. She argued that only grace
within could tell whether Someone was saved. She
denied that good works could get salvation. When
grace as the source of inner truth was
replaced By Nature, one had something close to
Romanticism Hutchinsons vision of grace was
personal, immediate, Revolutionary. . . It was
the 17th century equivalent Of Romantic
The Puritan authorities, intent on ensuring that
all their Members lead godly lives, could not put
up with such Individualism. They could not allow
each member to decide for himself. So they
expelled Anne Hutchinson She moved to Rhode
Island where Roger Williams had Established a
colony allowing for religious freedom And six
years later was killed in New York state during
an Indian attack.
The Puritan elders characterized her in a way
that will Become familiar in our
history Hutchinson seduced her followers. . .
Inducing them to cast Off their self-control. She
threatened to leash immorality, Even moral
anarchy. She disrupted the godly order by
Refusing to stay in her place--she would not be
subordinate, Silent, or domestic Cast this in
secular terms and it approximates what
generations Of defenders of the status quo, of
the establishment, have Said about generations
of Romantic rebels.
Anne Hutchinsons individualistic Revolt failed
in Massachusetts among the Puritans. But her
kind would be back. We will see many long, hot
battles Over the same moral territory. On the
one side, the moral Rules reinforce civic order,
social status, and political Power. On the
other, a faith stirring within individuals
impress them To attack the status quo. -James
Morone, Hellfire Nation
The Franklin Work Ethic also contributed in its
own way To the Romantic Counterculture and its
successors Its extreme individualism, its
message to look out for ones Own self, its lack
of community spirit fed into the individualism
of Romanticism Individualism was thus already
there for Romanticism to Build upon All it
needed to do was to change the focus from
external To internal From finding ones identity
and self-worth in material Success to finding it
in spiritual success success in realizing Ones
being according to natural rather than
social standards
Major figures in the 19th century Romantic
movement Known as Transcendentalism Ralph
Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Margaret
Fuller Walt Whitman
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882) Trust thyself
every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Born in Boston, son of a Unitarian minister.
Graduated Harvard at age 18. First a
schoolmaster, then a Unitarian minister. Left the
ministry because of doubts about Communion.
Moved to Concord Mass 1835. Founded
Transcendental Club. Nature published 1836.
Writer/Lecturer, famous orator, abolitionist
Henry David Thoreau1817-1862
Born Concord Mass. Would have Graduated from
Harvard but refused to pay 5 for his diploma.
Schoolteacher, Dismissed for not spanking his
pupils. Mostly worked in family pencil
factory. Naturalist, advocate of simple living,
tax resister author of Walden Civil
Disobedience, fervent abolitionist. Lived in
Cambridge MA. Inspiration for Gandhi Martin
Luther King.
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can
be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes
or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn
out to be falsehood to-morrow --Thoreau, Walden
(No Transcript)
Margaret Fuller1810-1850
First true advocate for womens rights. Learned
Latin at 5. Editor of The Dial. Wrote Woman in
the 19th Century. Literary critic for NY
Herald Tribune--1st female journalist on major
paper. Died when the boat carrying her back to
America from Europe sank. Great aunt of
Buckminster Fuller
What Woman needs is not as a woman to act or
rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to
discern, as a soul to live freely and unimpeded.
Emerson, Thoreau and Fuller were all friends and
neighbors in the Boston area in the mid 1800s.
They with a few others formed a genuine and
self-conscious intellectual and religious
movement, known as Transcendentalism. Included in
that circle were those who created the first
American commune or intentional community Brook
Walt Whitman (1819-1892
Possibly greatest American poet. Wrote Leaves of
Grass. Born in Brooklyn. NY newspaperman. Nursed
wounded during Civil War wrote Specimen
Days. Outraged Victorian America with his open
sexuality in his poems and even more so by the
homoeroticism they expressed. Perhaps best known
for Oh Captain! My Captain! expressing
his grief at the death of Lincoln.
After you have exhausted what there is in
business, politics, conviviality, and so on -
have found that none of these finally satisfy, or
permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.
Walt Whitman Was born in Brooklyn and was neither
a friend of the others nor a member of their
circle. He is a Romantic but a Transcendentalist
only in an honorary sense due to the presence of
Romantic and Transcendentalist themes in
his Poetry. Transcendentalism refers
specifically to that Small but influential group
surrounding Emerson And Thoreau. Romanticism is
the name for the general beliefs And outlooks
that were held by Transcendentalists But also by
many others throughout American History.
Transcendentalists were the first, but not The
last American Romantics.
Homer Simpson, after discovering that a grave his
father told him was his dead mother's was
actually that of Whitman, says, along with
intermittent kicks to the gravestone, "Damn you
Walt Whitman! I hate you Walt freakin'
Whitman! Leaves of Grass my ass!")
  • "it was as a revolutionary that Whitman began his
    work and a revolutionary he remained to the
    end...It was this revolutionary spirit that made
    him the friend of all rebellious souls past and
    present...Conventional law and order he frankly
    despised and those individuals who sought their
    own law and followed it awoke his admiration.
    Thoreau's "lawlessness" delighted him-"his going
    his own absolute road let hell blaze all it
    chooses, It is a coward and a poltroon who
    accepts his law from others....

  • Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism
    were the following a deepened appreciation of
    the beauties of nature a general exaltation of
    emotion over reason and of the senses over
    intellect a turning in upon the self and a
    heightened examination of human personality and
    its moods and mental potentialities a
    preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the
    exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his
    passions and inner struggles a new view of the
    artist as a supremely individual creator, whose
    creative spirit is more important than strict
    adherence to formal rules and traditional
    procedures an emphasis upon imagination as a
    gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual

I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of
the Heart's affections, and the truth of
Imagination.What the Imagination seizes as Beauty
must be truth--whether it existed before or
not,--for I have the same idea of all our
passions as of Love they are all, in their
sublime, creative of essential Beauty . . .. .
.The excellence of every art is its intensity,
capable of making all disagreeables evaporate
from their being in close relationship with
Beauty and Truth . . . several things dove-tailed
in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality
went to form a Man of Achievement, , especially
in Literature, and which Shakespear possessed so
enormously--I mean Negative Capability, that is,
when a man is capable of being in uncertainties,
mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching
after fact and reason. --Keats
  • Self-Discovery of ones true nature
  • Listen to the still small voice
  • Ignore conventional wisdom
  • 2. Authenticity Integrity
  • Express ones true nature
  • be nonconformist
  • develop ones inborn abilities
  • Have the courage to sustain
  • ones authenticity in the face of
  • difficulties and temptations.
  • 3. Change the world by personal example.

Part I Self-Discovery
  • Discover ones authentic nature
  • Intuition Listen to the still small
  • voice within you
  • Ignore conventional wisdom

People have an inborn nature. That nature is
Pleasantville shows people finding their real
selves hidden under the conventional selves they
have adopted to fit the social conventions of
what boys girls, men women are supposed to
be. As they find themselves, they turn color.
One must discover ones true natureby listening
to ones intuition
The heart has its reasons of which reason
knows nothing. --Blaise Pascal
It seems as if the Deity dressed each soul which
he sends into nature in certain virtues and
powers not communicable to other men, and
sending it to perform one more turn through the
circle of beings, wrote, "Not transferable" and
"Good for this trip only," on these garments of
the soul. Emerson "Uses of Great Men"
The voice of natureEmersons reasons for
listening to ones heart
  • Every natural process is a version of a
  • moral sentence. The moral law lies at the
  • centre of nature and radiates to the
    circumference. It is the pith and marrow of every
    substance, every relation, and every process. All
    things with which we deal, preach to us.

Nor can it be doubted that this moral sentiment
which thus scents the air, grows in the grain,
and impregnates the waters of the world, is
caught by man and sinks into his soul. The moral
influence of nature upon every individual is
that amount of truth which it illustrates to him.
Who can estimate this? Who can guess how much
firmness the sea-beaten rock has taught the
I hear and behold God in every object . . . Why
should I wish to see God better than this day? I
see something of God each hour of the twenty-four
. . . I find letters from God dropt in the
street And everyone is signed by Gods
name Whitman, Song of Myself
The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the
essence of genius, the essence of virtue, and the
essence of life, which we call Spontaneity or
Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as
Intuition, whilst all later teachings are
tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact
behind which analysis cannot go, all things find
their common origin. -Emerson, Self-Reliance
Conventional truth is not your truthyou are
unique You must find your own truths By looking
for your own Individual and unique nature (your
The Transcendentalist vision the mind can
apprehend absolute spiritual truths directly
without having to go through the detour of the
senses, without the dictates of past authorities
and institutions, and without the plodding labor
of ratiocination.
From Immanuel Kant, the transcendentalists
borrowed A distinction between Understanding and
Understanding is the analytical, rational,
calculating side of the Mind. Its the Franklin
mind commonsensical, practical, realistic.
Its Yankee ingenuity the kind of intellect
used In business and trained in schools. Reason
is intuitive, wild, mystical. It forms larger
patterns of order out of the information gathered
by Understanding. It creates meaning out of data.
It needs wilderness and nature to be brought out
the busy-ness of commerce and cities and ordinary
life tends to drown it out.
Thus Thoreau retreats to Walden to seek truth
that eludes him in the city and among other
people. Nature in the sense of wilderness allows
Reason to make sense of things for him. It allows
his own Nature to speak, to suppress the ordinary
Understanding to reach for deeper meaning, a more
natural, more trustworthy, meaning. This
Understanding is trustworthy because the voice of
Nature is the voice of God. This inner sense is
ones unique genius. We all have it, we can
all discover it.
Listening to ones heart will Reveal ones true
nature. Intuition is the voice of
Nature Speaking in you. It is the still small
voice that Will reveal the truth to you.
  • "Talent thinks, genius sees.
  • -William Blake
  • For 18th-century English artist and poet William
    Blake, art was visionary, not intellectual. He
    believed that the arts offered insights into the
    metaphysical world and could potentially redeem a
    humanity fallen into materialism and doubt. His
    belief that imagination is the artist's critical
    filter indicated the dawn of Romanticism, but his
    peers failed to recognize his genius

  • An answer in words is delusive it is really no
    answer to the questions you ask. Do not require a
    description of the countries towards which you
    sail. The description does not describe them to
    you, and to-morrow you arrive there, and know
    them by inhabiting them.
  • --Emerson

  • Only the dreamer shall understand realities,
    though in truth his dreaming must be not out of
    proportion to his waking.
  • --Margaret Fuller

By virtue of this inevitable nature, private
will is overpowered, and, maugre our efforts or
our imperfections, your genius will speak from
you, and mine from me. That which we are, we
shall teach, not voluntarily, but involuntarily.
Thoughts come into our minds by avenues which we
never left open, and thoughts go out of our
minds through avenues which we never voluntarily
opened. --Emerson
Conventional views will lead you away from the
  • Men have looked away from themselves, and at
    things, so long that they have come to esteem
    ...the religious, learned, and civil
    institutions, as guards of property...They
    measure their esteem of each other, by what each
    has, and not by what each is. But a cultivated
    man becomes ashamed of his property, ashamed of
    what he has, out of new respect for his being.
  • --Emerson

  • Be suspicious of conventional wisdom
  • It will mislead you about how you should live
  • It will blind you to your true and unique nature.
  • It will lead you into conventional scripts that
  • will not suit you
  • 4. These scripts will occupy your time and your
  • imagination, deafening you to your intuition,
  • stunting your imagination, preventing you
  • from imagining alternatives to the status quo.
  • 5. It will put your mind in a straitjacket,
  • you from seeing things that do not fit those
  • views.

  • I have lived some thirty years on this planet,
    and I have yet to hear the first syllable of
    valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.
    They have told me nothing, and probably cannot
    tell me anything to the purpose. Here is life, an
    experiment to a great extent untried by me but
    it does not avail me that they have tried it.
  • -Thoreau, Walden

  • The greater part of what my neighbors call good I
    believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of
    anything, it is very likely to be my good
    behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved
    so well?
  • -Thoreau, Walden

  • Would not genius be common as light if men
    trusted their higher selves?
  • Margaret Fuller

  • If we keep an open mind, too much is likely to
    fall into it.
  • --Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972),

Emerson, et. al. had no idea
  • The process of self-discovery is not necessarily
  • Why, even I myself, I often think know little of
    my real life only a few hints, a few diffuse
    faint clues and indirections I seek for my own
    use. . .
  • -Walt Whitman

A sign that you need to seek your true self
is Alienation or Estrangement Im a
stranger in a strange land.
  • Signs that youre a stranger in a strange land
  • You dont know the rules
  • You dont speak the language
  • You dont feel at home
  • No one is like you
  • You are anxious

  • If youre actually in a strange land, this is
  • But if the strange land is your home, then you
    are alienated, estranged.
  • If the people who are closest to you, family,
    friends. .. Seem like strangers to you
  • If they seem to be playing a game whose rules you
    dont know
  • Or you know the rules but dont feel comfortable
    playing by them
  • You suffer anxiety (angst) just from normal

  • Alienation or estrangement is thus
  • When your nature doesnt fit
  • the scripts provided by your society

Having discovered ones true self by Listening
to ones intuition which is the voice of Nature
inside one and by Avoiding the traps set by
conventional wisdom One must now Express that
true self in ones life and Protect it from
social pressures
Thoreaus retreat to Walden and other things
Romanics Say may give the impression that one
first discovers Who one is, by retreating from
the hurly-burly of everyday Life into nature,
And there is that strain One discovers who
one is by inner communion, by retreat from others
and from society. But
  • But in another view
  • Discovery and expression are not sequential.
  • One doesnt first, conclusively and once and for
    all, discover who one is and then express that
    nature in ones life.
  • Discovery of ones true nature will continue to
  • As one expresses that nature in ones life.
  • Is part of discovery and discovery is part of

  • Part II. Authenticity Integrity
  • express ones nature
  • develop ones inborn abilities
  • Have the courage to resist coercion
  • out of ones authentic life and seduction back
    into a conventional life.

What Woman needs is not as a woman to act or
rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to
discern, as a soul to live freely and
unimpeded.Men think that nothing is so much to
be dreaded for a woman as originality of thought
or character. --Margaret Fuller
most of Walt Whitmans "Song of Myself" has to
do not with the self searching for a final
identity but with the self escaping a series of
identities which threaten to destroy its lively
and various spontaneity Scripts will destroy the
true self. If you follow conventional paths, You
will lose touch with your intuition Your
imagination will wither.
Once one has discovered ones true nature or
self, one must express that self in ones
entire way of life and work
Gandhi said Thoreau taught nothing that he was
not prepared to practice in himself.
The end of man. . . Is the highest and most
harmonious development of his powers to a
complete and consistent whole. . . For this there
are two requisites, freedom, and a variety of
situations and from the union of these
arise individual vigor and manifold diversity
which combine themselves in originality -Wilhe
lm von Humboldt (as paraphrased by J.S. Mill
In the long run, men hit only what they aim at.
Thereforethough they should fail immediately,
they had better aim at something
high. --Thoreau
The most important thing in life is to develop
the talents Nature gave you- whatever they may be.
Very early, I knew that the only object in life
was to grow. -Margaret Fuller
That Envy is ignorance imitation is suicide
that he must Take himself for better or worse as
his portion. . . A friend suggested, But these
impulses may come from below,not from above. I
replied, They do not seem to me to be such, but
if I am the devils child, I will live then from
the devil. -Emerson, Self-Reliance
I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately, To front only the essential facts
of life, and see if I could Not learn what it had
to teach, and not, when it came Time to die,
discover that I had not lived. I did not wish To
live what was not life, living is so dear, nor
did I wish To practice resignation, unless it was
quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck
out all the marrow of life. . . To drive life
into a corner and reduce it to its lowest Terms,
and if it proved to be mean, why then to get The
whole and genuine meanness of it. --Thoreau,
It is a vulgar error that love, a love, to woman
is her whole existence she is born for Truth and
Love in their universal energy. ---Margaret
  • Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. .
  • nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of
  • own mind.
  • I have my own stern claims . . . If anyone
  • imagines that this law is lax, let him keep
  • its commandment one day.
  • --Emerson

In every work of genius we
recognize our own rejected thoughts they come
back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
Great works of art have no more affecting lesson
for us than this. They teach us to abide by our
spontaneous impression with good-humoured
inflexibility, then most when the cry of voices
is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger
will say with masterly good sense precisely what
we have thought and felt all the time, and we
shall be forced to take with same our opinion
from another. --Emerson
  • Those who seem overladen with electricity
    frighten those around them,
  • --Margaret Fuller

It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can
be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes
or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn
out to be falsehood to-morrow --Thoreau, Walden
It is astonishing what force, purity, and wisdom
it requires for a human being to keep clear of
falsehoods. - Margaret Fuller
  • You shall not look through my eyes either, nor
    take things from me,
  • You shall listen to all sides and filter them
    from your self.
  • Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

To dream magnificently is not a gift given to
all men, and even for those who possess it, it
runs a strong risk of being progressively
diminished by the ever-growing dissipation of
modern life and by the restlessness engendered
by material progress. The ability to dream is a
divine and mysterious ability because it is
through dreams that man communicates with the
shadowy world which surrounds him. But this
power needs solitude to develop freely the more
one concentrates, the more one is likely to dream
fully, deeply. --Charles Baudelaire
  • The Pleasantville rebels have to learn the truth
    originally from an outsider. There is no wisdom
    in Pleasantville that will tell them.

Live life to the fullAs if one could kill time
without injuring eternity-Thoreau, Walden
Be open Be sensual Be unafraid Seize the day
"I only regret, in my chilled old age, certain
occasions and possibilities I didnt embrace."
--Henry James to Hugh Walpole
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"Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the
son Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating,
drinking, and breeding No sentimentalist, no
stander above men and women or apart from them
Whitman was most emphatic in rejecting the
Puritan view that the body was corrupt and its
urges to be suppressed Loafe with me on the
grass, loose the stop from your throat, Not
words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or
lecture, not even the best, Only the lull I
like, the hum of your valved voice. I mind how
once we lay such a transparent summer
morning, How you settled your head athwart my
hips and gently turn'd over upon me, And parted
the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your
tongue to my bare-stript heart, And reach'd till
you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my
feet. --Song of Myself
I believe in the flesh and the appetites Seeing,
hearing, feeling are miracles, And each part and
tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and
out, And I make holy whatever I touch. .
. --Whitman, Song of Myself
Oh, I dont think your father would ever do
anything like that, dear
The Puritan view, firmly rejected by Whitman
  • Thoreau claimed that there was no
  • time when he was at Walden Pond.
  • His days at Walden are such that he
  • can sit rapt in a revery, amidst the pines...
  • in undisturbed solitude and stillness...
  • his time there is not segmented into
  • hours and fretted by the ticking of a
  • clock. he said that he grew like corn
  • by sitting on his doorstep from dawn
  • to noon, too busy to engage in work of
  • head or hand

One thing only Margaret Fuller demanded of all
her friends-that they should have some
extraordinary generous seeking that they should
not be satisfied with the common routine of life,
that they should aspire to something higher,
better, holier, than they had now attained.
Where this element of aspiration existed, she
demanded no originality of intellect, no
greatness of soul. If these were found, well
but she could love, tenderly and truly, where
they were not. She never formed a friendship
until she had seen and known this germ of good,
and afterwards judged conduct by this. To this
germ of good, to this highest law of each
individual, she held them true.
  • And this natural unclocked time is not "idleness"
    in the sense that the men of the village, the Ben
    Franklins would understand it, and condemn it
    for being so. It is rather the best possible use
    of time. It's one's own time, unsold to anyone
    else, undevoted to the chores of the world, it's
    a sacred chunk of one's life, which is nothing
    but time, so one better be careful how one spends
  • Thoreau, walden

Dont postpone living now for the sake of some
future goal. Seize the day Gather ye
rosebuds while ye may. Dont be cautious live
in the moment.

Its nature is satisfied and it satisfies nature
in all moments alike. There is no time to it.
But man postpones or remembers he does not
live in the present, but with reverted eye
laments the past, or, heedless of the riches
that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee
the future. He cannot be happy and strong until
he too lives with nature in the present, above
time. --Emerson, Self-Reliance
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, encouraging his
followers not to worry about their worldly
needs Why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow
they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I
say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
Men for the sake of getting a living forget to
live. --Margaret Fuller
Success in dealing with the world as it is
inevitably diminishes the ability to imagine it
as it might be. --Thomas Carlyle
Ordinary work suppresses individuality
?For more on this theme, see any Dilbert cartoon
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The true Romantic refuses (or is unable) to fit
in. Jason Robards as Murray in A Thousand Clowns
Part 3 Integrity
  • Discover ones nature
  • Listen to the still small voice
  • Ignore conventional wisdom
  • 2. Express ones nature
  • be nonconformist
  • Develop ones inborn abilities

3. Have the integrity to resist coercion out of
ones authentic life and seduction back into a
conventional life.
4. The personal is political change the world by
changing yourself
  • One option when one is alienated or starting on
    the first steps to Romantic liberation is to
  • Conform
  • To pick a script and follow it anyway, regardless
    of the fact that it crimps you
  • This is what most people do, say Romantics.
  • Thoreau the mass of men lead lives of quiet

  • But it is not what Romantics recommend.
  • If there is no script that fits you in your
    society, then create a new script that does fit
  • Be a nonconformist

  • Degrees of conformity
  • Compromising conformity get a day job but try
    to be yourself at other times (Sunday painters
  • Inevitabilist conformity you might as well b/c
    society will win in the end and youll save
    yourself a lot of trouble.
  • Developmental conformity rebellion is just a
    stage that one goes through then one grows up
    and conforms

  • Positive conformity Society provides adequate
    scripts rebellion is willful deviance.
  • Repressive conformity Puritanism. e.g.
  • The natural self is corrupt and evil and should
    be crushed. Conformity is a positive good

Conformity suppresses what is natural in us. Fear
of being different can lead us right back into
the closet.
  • "It is the best part of the man, I sometimes
    think, that revolts most against his being the
    minister" Emerson wrote as a young minister
    himself in January 1831when he was 29, "His good
    revolts from official goodness. . .We. . . fall
    into institutions already made and have to
    accommodate ourselves to them to be useful at
    all, and this accommodation is, I say, a loss of
    so much integrity. . . and power.
  • There will soon be no more priests. A superior
    breed shall take their place. A new order shall
    arise . . . And every man shall be his own
  • ---Walt Whitman

Difficulties in authenticityexpressivismself-dev
elopment integrity
  • It takes strength of character.
  • Freedom is frightening fear may make one run
    back to the closet
  • The outcome is unknown, the future uncertain
  • Conventional society will attempt to
  • punish you.

  • For nonconformity, the world whips you with
    its displeasure.
  • -Emerson

Nations, like families, have great men only in
spite of themselves. They do everything in
their power not to have any. And therefore, the
great man, in order to exist, must possess a
force of attack which is greater than the force
of resistance developed by millions of
people. --Charles Baudelaire
Freedom is frightening because no one can tell
you the way
  • There are no road maps, no well-trodden paths to
    follow, no scripts.
  • One has to make it up as one goes, with only
    ones instincts to follow
  • No one will be able to give you advice.
  • You will be uncertain and anxious without others
    like you to give you reassurance

(No Transcript)
For the ease and pleasure of treading the old
road, accepting the fashions, the education, the
religion of society, he takes the cross of
making his own, and, of course, the
self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent
uncertainty and loss of time, which are the
nettles and tangling vines in the way of the
self-relying and self-directed and the state of
virtual hostility in which he seems to stand to
society, and especially to educated society. For
all this loss and scorn, what offset? He is to
find consolation in exercising the highest
functions of human nature.
  • One may suffer
  • Unpopularity
  • Ridicule
  • Loss of career
  • Loss of friends
  • Social oppression
  • Poverty
  • Even death

America is no place for an artist to be an
artist is to be a moral leper, an economic
misfit, a social liability. A corn-fed hog
enjoys a better life than a creative writer,
painter, or musician.-Henry Miller, The
Air-Conditioned Nightmare p. 16
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Attempting to rape Betty
Part 3 Politics
The personal is political change the world by
changing yourself

Antinomianism disrespect for lawand authority
as suchOnly good laws deserve to be
obeyed.The only people who deserve respect are
those whohave earned it.
Good men must not obey the law too
well. -Emerson, On Politics
One evening in July of 1846, Henry David Thoreau
was Arrested and jail for refusal to pay his poll
tax. Thoreau refused as a protest against
slavery, and against A government that made
slavery legal. Such a government was not worthy
of his support, he said. The next day a
mysterious veiled woman paid the poll tax For
him and he was told he was free to go. Thoreau
refused on the grounds that since he himself had
not Paid the tax, he was still guilty of the
crime and should remain In jail.
The story is told that while he was in jail,
Thoreau was Visited by his friend and neighbor
Emerson, who Said Henry, what are you doing in
there? To which Thoreau responded Waldo, what
are you doing out there? Implying that all
conscientious moral citizens should also Refuse
to pay taxes to a government that engaged in
immoral Activities such as allowing slavery. The
proper place for a man of conscience is in jail,
not Being a respectable law-abiding citizen.
To explain his position to his fellow townsmen
who could not understand his wish to be
incarcerated, Thoreau delivered a lecture before
the local lyceum, giving the rationalization for
his seemingly bizarre behaviorthat if only every
citizen who abhorred slavery would join him in
jail, the government, forced to choose between
having its best citizens imprisoned and
abandoning slavery, would, under the pressure of
public opinion, take the latter course. Thoreaus
lecture, later published as Civil Disobedience,
became the manual of arms for Mahatma Gandhi in
his successful campaign to free India from the
British Empire. Danish resisters used it in their
fight against the Nazi invaders during World War
II. Martin Luther King depended upon it in his
battle against racial segregation in our own
South. And anti-Vietnam protesters used it to
force Lyndon Johnson to abandon plans for a
second term of his Presidency
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.
The obedient must be slaves... Let your life be
a counter friction to stop the machine.
Henry David Thoreau
To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle
thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to
love wisdom as to live according to its
dictates, a life of simplicity, independence,
magnanimity and trust. It is to solve some of
the problems of life, not only theoretically,
but practically. --Thoreau, Walden And most
importantly those problems of life include
the Moral problems of how to life justly and
rightly and how to Live in such a way as to
satisfy ones conscience. Thoreau concluded that
it is not enough to refrain from Harming others
oneself, one must not be complicit in the Harm
done by others, including ones own government.
  • He saw this however as a problem how the
    individual should
  • Live he did not believe that he had a duty to
    join the
  • Abolitionist movement in order to abolish
  • One can see three levels of individual morality
  • To refrain from doing harm oneself.
  • 2. To refuse to support or otherwise have
    complicity in the
  • Harm done by others.
  • 3. To actively assist others who are being
    harmed to do
  • Positive good.
  • Thoreau drew the line for himself between 2 and

  • Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the
    least degree, resign his conscience to the
    legislator? Why has every man a conscience then?
    I think that we should be men first, and subjects
    afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a
    respect for the law, so much as for the right.
    The only obligation which I have a right to
    assume is to do at any time what I think right.
  • -Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
  • Civil Disobedience was his answer to two
    questions that
  • Plagued him after his arrest
  • Why do some men obey laws without asking if the
    laws are just or unjust and,
  • (2) why do others obey laws they think are wrong?

When Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned as a young
lawyer In South Africa, prior to returning to
India to begin his long Nonviolent campaign to
free India from British rule, he Pondered why so
many passively accepted injustice Placed in a
similar position for refusing his poll tax, the
American citizen Thoreau expressed similar
thought in 1849. Seeing the wall of the cell in
which he was confined, made of solid stone 2 or 3
feet thick, and the door of wood and iron a foot
thick, he said to himself, If there were a wall
of stone between me and my townsmen, there was
still a more difficult one to climb or break
through before they could get to be as free as I
Whilst I do what is fit for me, and abstain from
what is unfit, my neighbor and I shall often
agree in our means, and work together for a time
to one end. But whenever I find my dominion over
myself not sufficient for me, and undertake the
direction of him also, I overstep the truth, and
come into false relations to him. I may have so
much more skill or strength than he, that he
cannot express adequately his sense of wrong,
but it is a lie, and hurts like a lie both him
and me. Love and nature cannot maintain the
assumption it must be executed by a practical
lie, namely, by force. This undertaking for
another, is the blunder which stands in colossal
ugliness in the governments of the world.
-Emerson, On Politics
the State must follow, and not lead the character
and progress of the citizen . . . they only who
build on Ideas, build for eternity and that the
form of government which prevails, is the
expression of what cultivation exists in the
population which permits it. The law is only a
memorandum. We are superstitious, and esteem the
statute somewhat so much life as it has in the
character of living men, is its force. The
statute stands there to say, yesterday we agreed
so and so, but how feel ye this article today?
-Emerson, On Politics
What the tender poetic youth dreams, and prays,
and paints today, but shuns the ridicule of
saying aloud, shall presently be the resolutions
of public bodies, then shall be carried as
grievance and bill of rights through conflict and
war, and then shall be triumphant law and
establishment for a hundred years, until it gives
place, in turn, to new prayers and pictures.
-Emerson On Politics
"Cautious, careful people always casting about to
preserve their reputation or social standards
never can bring about reform. Those who are
really in earnest are willing to be anything or
nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly