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Transcendentalism: connecting with nature, not screens.

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The topic Transcendentalism, and how it connects with our everyday lives, has recently become a topic of discussion in 11th grade English classes. Transcendentalism is focused on our spiritual selves; to know ourselves, the people around us, and our natural environment.

The discussion began with a question, “do you think you could survive without your phones?” Half of the class were able to raise their hands, but the other half were unsure, and it is hard to decide. Our generation has been raised in a time when our society has become technologically advanced. We have been living with it for some time now.

In class, we were given an excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau states, “we must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.” His words can be interpreted as we must stay awake by our desire. For example, instead of waking up by our phone’s alarm that disrupts our sleep…we could naturally wake up by sunrise. Moreover, Thoreau starts this excerpt with “we must,” because it is essential that we begin to focus on connecting with nature more than we do now.

Research shows that there are more positive correlations between human health, intelligence, and nature. For example, nature has positive effects on children with ADD (attention deficit disorder), asthma, and being in nature relieves stress and improves physical health. Instead of staying inside on our electronics, we should take some time to go outside. Sunlight was proven to improve our mood, make us calmer, and more alert.

Anything like walking to the park, riding your bike, public transportation, so you are more open to your surroundings, or even going to the beach when it is a beautiful day. The more time we spend focusing all of our attention on a bright little screen, the less time we spend on connecting with the things that matter. Such as nature and the people around you.