Jon Krakauer: Modern Youth Transcendentalism Essay

1066 words - 4 pages

When the original writers of transcendentalism detailed their experiences, they had no idea of the magnitude of self-reflection they would trigger. Thousands of American youth follow their writings and findings looking for a better life and brighter future. Writers such as Thoreau and Emerson, as well as others, inspired a multitude of individuals to observe their surroundings and become more than themselves. Throughout modern American society, the majority of youths attempt to follow a transcendental path in their everyday lives; however they find it difficult due to a loss of nature, less individuality, and conformist teachings.
Consequently, a multitude of youth today attempt to follow the same principles of intuition, imagination, idealism, individuality, and inspiration established long ago. However, it is increasingly difficult to follow these principles in a modern setting within society today. There is a human tendency to break free from society, especially in children and young adults. If you attempt to be someone you are not then you cannot be yourself (McCarthy). The difficulty is especially apparent in youths currently growing up in today’s society. Modern young adults are bonded to a life of convenience and ease, given what they need and often receiving what they want in abundance. However, sometimes less is more, and more can be accomplished when there is only focus on the important things (Thoreau 236). There remains a lack of necessity for imagination, curiosity, or adventure. Author Jon Krakauer contends, “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure” (57). Adolescents may try to be transcendental in their individual actions and imaginative thoughts, but are pulled back into conformity by those surrounding them.
Furthermore, in the modern world there is much less emphasis portrayed to youth about the natural world than there was when Transcendentalism began. Nature has been sheltered from adolescents and taught as a dangerous place compared to the safe concrete jungle within which we reside. One example of natural ideology is the Boy Scouts of America. They were founded on the basis of giving youth a place to start their young lives with the knowledge necessary to live within nature. Even today Boy Scouts are one of the only nationwide programs which show young men the importance of connection with the environment. Nature is an extremely important part of transcendentalism mostly ignored today. In the time when Transcendentalism began, nature was the gateway to one’s inner self, often found after time spent within it (Walden 242).This lead to great ideals and amazing scholars.
In addition, youths find it difficult to become their own individual as they grow older. Groups of youth induce pressure on others to embrace the same ideals and values of their peers. As teen writer Abhinav eloquently ponders “Conformity is a theme that permeates the very fabric of society. It forces people to sacrifice...

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