The work “Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau discussed government throughout the essay. In his essay there is a line that says, “that government is best which governs least.” I believe this means that the government is best when it is least involved in people’s everyday lives. I sort of agree with this statement. I agree because I feel that as more laws are being created and adapted and the more things get strict, the more that people will tend to disobey them. Also, some of the laws that are put in place are very unnecessary, while other things need laws and do not have them. Although I think that laws need to have more of a balance, I do believe that the government still needs to play somewhat of a major role in our society to keep the world from turning to utter chaos. The role of government is to create laws and also put restrictions on what we can and cannot do in order to keep everybody safe. Even though most people would say that citizens are going to break the laws anyways, making things illegal will still prevent even more people from breaking those laws. All in all, citizens are supposed to follow the rules set in place by the government. Another line that Thoreau states is, “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. . .” A government that would command people’s respect would be a government that was the most strict when it came to punishment, such as life in prison or the death penalty for even the most minor crime committed. The government would get the people’s respect because they would be in fear of being punished and would not want to commit any crimes due to that fear. Protests are still continuing to happen all over the world to this day, many imitating the style of figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. The role of civil disobedience today is to create awareness to the cause that people are trying to worship. It is effective because it is harmless and no one gets in trouble while bringing people to realize the problems they wish to protest. The only way civil disobedience is not effective is when it turns violent and into riots.
While reading the excerpt from Walden by Thoreau, I came to the realization that Thoreau and Emerson share the same thoughts in regards to life. They ways in which they discuss nature really is what made me make a connection between them. Both writers used nature as a metaphor for life. In the first portion of “Where I Lived and What I Lived?”, Thoreau’s main point was that life should be lived in a simple manner. He says that life would be much more enjoyable if you lived simply instead of getting caught up in all of the little details and caring too much about things that are not important in our lives. The main point of “The Conclusion” is that you should be yourself and live life how you want and not live how others want you to. This main idea is very closely related to Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” which talks about how you will feel a bigger sense of pride and dignity if you do things on your own and in your own way. Thoreau’s leaving behind society to live in the woods would highlight the simplicity of life and would show that he truly only needs the simple things in life in order to live a good, happy life. This experiment would pretty much be like you are leaving the realm of society and focusing deeply on your inner self and wanting to create a better you. You would not have to go through the everyday worries of trying to fit in with the people of society. I believe we need to do this more often because today, there are so many people acting as followers and people imitating each other rather than being themselves and being a leader in the world. I do not think I could do this experiment because I would miss people and would miss being able to interact with them on a personal level. I would get way too lonely. I believe the biggest thing to learn from our readings of Transcendentalism is that everybody needs to embrace individuality instead of being too afraid to be who we are and not be focused on trying to fit in with everybody. We need to live simply and live for ourselves more than trying to please other people.
The purpose of independent reading is to ensure that students can still read and are keeping up on their education through books. As a school, to ensure and make kids read more is we could make one book for an actual grade and then for every other book we read per marking period, it could be an extra two bonus points. The first book that I picked for the third quarter was When the Game Stands Tall. I selected this book because I have seen the movie and it is an incredible sports story and I want to see how the book relates to the movie. I just picked my book today so I have not had time to read any of it, but what I think is going to happen in the first chapter is it will give an intro into the sports program and its history. It will explain and give reports about what happens in their football games during their historic record of 151 games in a row. A concern that I have about making this book trailer is that I am not quite sure how I am going to do it yet and am hoping that it is not very hard to do. But, I do think that it will be cool to watch once we are all done and it will get more students to read if they can watch a book trailer on the book. It is a pretty cool idea in my mind and I hope that my trailer turns out to be good.
My first thoughts on Transcendentalism was that I was really confused and could not quite understand what it was talking about or what it meant. The philosophical idea of transcendentalism’s central figure was Ralph Emerson, who lead the movement in the mid nineteenth century. When I first read Nature and Self-Reliance by Ralph Emerson, I understood the basics of what it was trying to get at, but I did not understand the deeper meaning to it all. I knew that it was talking about nature and the way that man nature interact with another and that Emerson was talking about how people need to be less about themselves and not be so self-centered. I believe that men are naturally good. I believe they are capable of being able to control themselves and do not need to have society and its rules keep them from doing bad things. They are able to make a conscious decision to either do something or not do something depending on if it is right or wrong. If people were to have to listen to other people to tell them how to live their lives, things would get messy. They would not follow the rules and would in fact make things much worse for society. They need to be able to do what they want when they want and live their lives free of other people. To get the most out of life, you need to be able to do what makes you happy and being told by society’s rules what you can or cannot do is just total misery and would make a person’s life gloomy and no fun and not worth living. Now granted we do have to follow certain rules or the world would be utter chaos, but for things that will not harm others, people should definitely be able to make their own decisions. But, if their actions and decisions hurt other people, I believe they should be punished and not able to make their own choices anymore. As long as they are using the power that they have for good, I believe in Transcendentalism!