So what do a pumpkin and a cushion have in common? Well to Thoreau they portrayed his Transcendentalist beliefs when he said “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion”, a quote that actually touches on two key Transcendentalist principles. The most obviously expressed precept is that one should live their lives simply with “simple food, simple clothing, simple housing, just the bare necessities of life and nature, the “perfect” concoction.
However, the transcendentalist ideas of simplicity and individuality contradict each other when one takes into consideration, the chefs, the designers, the architects of the world. For example, an architect constructs a beautifully gothic and luxurious house that totally expresses their individuality, their passions, their inner feelings. And a chef produces an amazingly delectable work of food, not for its beauty but so that when a person eats it he or she tastes the feeling that the chef has been able to reproduce. Arts, such as architecture and cooking, are living arts that need to be lived in eaten, worn, used, to be complete. There’s no point in expressing uniqueness through living arts without living through them. But according to Thoreau food, clothes, and housing structures should be kept simple.
Not only does simplicity contradict individuality, it also makes technological and scientific advances impossible. Sure, we can live without Sidekicks but even “luxurious” items such as televisions are useful for communication and spreading knowledge. Also new technology helps make things like stem cell research and cures for cancer research, possible.
The less unequivocally displayed principle is that, everyone might not want to sit on the velvet cushion but actually want to sit on a pumpkin but they’re influenced by what other people think and conform to the idea that the velvet cushion is sooo much better no matter how crowded. I agree that...
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