Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dances with Orientalism

The word 'orientalism' is traditionally used when describing attributes or artifacts of Asia and the Middle East, especially in a stereotypical manner which embodies colonial attitudes - hence, where it got it's name. However this word can be expanded to include other peoples that have been similarly portrayed through the colonial lens, including African and Aboriginal Australian and Native American cultures. Specific examples of orientalist views of Native Americans are dotted through out American history from the classic Billy the Kid to HBO's Westworld. Although we now recognize these aspects of American culture as being wrong or offensive, they continued to be overlooked in our current society.

Dances with Wolves is an Oscar-winning, Americana movie from 1991 about a civil war soldier's, Lieutenant Dunbar, relationship with a local Lakota tribe. The film synopsis claims that Dunbar is, "Attracted by the simplicity of their [the Lakota tribe] lifestyle, he chooses to leave his former life behind to be with them." This quote exemplifies how non western cultures are portrayed as simple or inferior in western pop-culture. 

Additionally Dunbar falls in love with the a white woman who was raised in the tribe. Having the white Lieutenant Dunbar marry the only white woman in the movie demonstrates how even though native american culture may seem interesting to take part in, it is still not respectable enough to marry into. Instead of binding the two cultures together as it was meant to, this marriage furthers the dichotomy between the two cultures. This plot point is an example of how colonialism continues to impact western culture.


The term Romanticism refers to the period in history in which a movement changed the perceptions of Western people. Romanticism was originally an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in the 18th century in Europe. This movement hit its peak from 1800-1850. This period of time is referred to as the Romantic Period. Friedrich Schlegel, a German poet, is credited for originally using the term romantic to describe literature. This movement emphasized personal emotion, imagination, and freedom. Romanticism also appreciates the beauty of nature and the world in general. By the 1820's, Romanticism had broadened to embrace the literatures of almost all of Europe. During the second phase of Romanticism the movement was more concentrated on exploring each country's historical and cultural inheritance and attempting to understand the passions and struggles of each individual person. 

Musical Romanticism was known for emphasizing originality and creativity in the form of music, mainly classical music. Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert bridged the gap between the Classical and Romantic periods. Music played a huge role in the Romantic period because music can be expressed and read by those who can understand music but was harder for those who didn't understand music the same way. 


Has Romanticism changed since its beginning? Modern day romanticism vs the original has changed in my opinion, not only by how it is portrayed but the definition of it itself. Romanticism came into place in the late seventeen hundreds and originally was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe. It was the reaction to current events such as the Industrial Revolution and other things such as social norms at the time. It was used to portray emotions as stories.
Although his was how Romanticism was used during this time, today it is different. Today, it is more geared toward individualism and ego centrism rather than multiple. Although it is still influenced by art, literature, and intellect, its form is different. Due to modern advancements, technological and others, romanticism is shown in different ways than it used to be. Altogether, Romanticism is still used to show emotion through stories simply in different forms than how it was historically displayed.


Sorry for interrupting the flow of Romanticism, but better late than never.

My mom teaches a course in Russian history at UIC, and at the start of every semester she asks her students to write down the first words that come to mind when they think of Russia. The most common answers include Siberia, vodka, bears, snow, and Stalin - stereotypes that date back to the Cold War and illustrate the orientalist image of Russia in American culture.

Throughout the 20th century, Soviet Russia has been the number-one “Other” to the US (and vice versa). In the true spirit of Orientalism, it was seen as savage, mysterious, and menacing. Some groups of the American society saw it as the empire of pure evil, some as a perfectly just and benevolent utopia, some simply as a distant and exotic fairyland. Though these approaches seem contradictory, they could easily coexist in the collective psyche, because all of them reduced Russia to an antipode of the Western world.

It’s interesting to see that this perception of Russia remains mostly the same today. The images of exotic Siberian landscapes and bears roaming the streets of Moscow still manage to coexist with the fear of superior technology and all-powerful hackers.

Modern Romanticism?

Romanticism is rarely seen in today's culture, and it could be argued that it is nonexistent. Whether it be today's movies, music, or television shows, the ideals of Romanticism are rarely seen anymore. The current forms of media represent the opposite of the ideals of Romanticism: collectivism, technological advances, and a lack of liberty. The 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries were able to value and motivate the values of Romanticism, while the 20th century allowed these customs to fall. The 21st century is barely cognizant of Romanticism and this is evident in today’s culture. Elements of individualism, innovation, and imagination fueled the era and they are what our current day lacks the most.

The symphonies, poems, and ballads have been replaced by technology and multimedia, which are typically pointless activities. Occasionally, movies or books will represent elements of Romanticism, but they are merely shown in terms of the time period, without advancing the era. This new tech crazed era would rather pass off other people’s work as their own, rather than put in their own hard work. The lack of ingenuity and motivation of people today is astonishing, and one of the largest setbacks of today. Technology and media are resourceful tools that are used as large distractions to hold back innovation. Many people use these tools wisely, but even more use them for fun or in time consuming activities.

Since Romanticism is so underrepresented, any pieces of Romanticism fail to express the elements in a productive and informative way. Every person is a Romantic in part, but in our current society it is difficult to see. If we could separate ourselves from the technology and countless other distractions that get in the way of our learning, we can experience our Romantic sides. Our Romantic sides, are what allow us to innovate and create what we find important or worthwhile. Our creations can be our biggest achievements. If Romanticism was better represented, it would be easier to include it in today’s culture. If Romanticism were truly alive today, we wouldn't have to ask the question, because it would be well represented in society and that is what makes it important.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Magic in Romanticism

Qualities and traits of romanticism from the 17th and 18th century such as a deepened appreciation of the beauty of nature, general preference of emotion over reason and the importance of sense over intellect is still strong in American culture today. The romantics preoccupation with the genius, the hero and the exceptional figures in general, while focusing on inner struggles can be found in many aspects of today’s pop culture. A focus on the individual and imagination that is at the center of the romantic movement, is a prevalent trait in many artistic works today.

In the Harry Potter Series, we see many examples of heroism and genius and individuals struggling to come to terms with their inner selves. Harry himself, split at birth by the wicked spell of “He That Shall Not Be Named” is full of wonder and amazement as he attempts to patch the tear within. Ordinary kids turned super-heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione fight the depths of darkness using emotions and a heightened sense of what could be to guide them. The series has so many characters that stretch our imagination and continually manage to go beyond the ordinary. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Harry Potter both as described in the books and as shown in the movies on the big screen. Even though the story is about a group of kids and adults marching towards a final showdown as a group against evil - it is very clear along the way that the main characters are very strong individuals that are continually forced to look within and overcome significant doubts.

The focus on emotion, personal growth and super heroes is a main theme in the Harry Potter series making it a pop romantic classic. The genius of Dumbledore throughout the series and Harry’s transcendence of death that occurs in the final chapters are examples of Romanticism. The popularity of the series speaks to a hunger in today’s society for heroism and a power that can outwit evil and darkness. In the end, we all want to see Harry and friends prevail and find peace and happiness after their long journey to be free to live their lives without the darkness of Voldemort and his followers.

Love Sucks (And How Romanticism Ruined It For Us All)

Ah, relationship woes. We've all been there and done that (well, most of us). Sometimes we lose our romantic relationships due to the passion fizzling out, not fully understanding each other, or even (gasp!) having feelings for someone else. Thankfully, many of our modern problems in romantic relationships aren't actually our fault, but rather reflect the failing of a cultural facet that we call Romanticism.

To reiterate what you may already know, Romanticism is an artistic and intellectual movement that came about in the late 18th century as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Enlightenment, and the demystification of nature by means of science; basically, world was turning towards rationality and abandoning aesthetic expression and spontaneity. Thus, the great Romantic poets came to the rescue, and greatly popularized the glorification of individualism, emotion, and natural beauty. So much, in fact, that we still can't seem to scrub these Romantic ideals today.

Let's envision what the pre-Romantic marriage relationship may have looked like. A man and a woman may have chosen to elope for the receiving of a dowry, or because the bride's father holds significant social status, or because the two are very well aligned in their interpretation of Biblical texts. These non-love marriages did not often result in happiness (instead, there was often abuse, rape, and other catastrophes), since their purpose was mostly practical... and we know how Romantics feel about practicality. So the Romantics rallied against these ideal in exchange for other new catastrophes.

The ideals that the Romantics were proponents of are ones that still captivate us today, such as deep, long-lasting passion! Intuitively understanding each other's souls! Sex as the ultimate profession of true love! Practicalities should never get in the way! Reckless love was seen as one that people should strive for, since that meant it was driven by the raw power of attraction and soul-alignedness and intuitive-understandingness. A relationship where, say, it lasts three days and it's between two teenagers. And they almost get married! But then they both kill themselves and four other people die... but it's because they love each other that damn much. Instead of being appalled by that relationship, we find it oh-so beautiful and romantic. (Wasn't there a book like that or something?)

Beautiful, yes, but not very psychologically mature. This Romantic pressure to maintain a "spark" with someone for years on end, to understand them without needing to ask, and to be guided solely by our feelings hangs heavy over our heads, and frequently skews our expectations of how a relationship should realistically be. When we can't meet these standards, we feel confused, as though we have somehow failed at love. Yet, this could not be further from the truth! The building blocks of a Romantic romantic relationship sound flowery and nice, but can't build a sustainable foundation.

So listen, guys. Communication is important. Nobody can truly "understand" someone unless they ask. It's OK (and probably encouraged) to take into consideration factors such as money, religious beliefs, life goals, etc. when choosing a partner, and even discuss them right off the bat. And, as much as our juicy, poetic feelings of love may dictate us otherwise, you should acknowledge that your partner is not perfect (and neither are you). Realistic standards will pave the path towards a more hopeful future for love.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Your Own Unique World

One tenant of Romanticism is individualism. One can embrace individualism by looking inwards for authority and decisiveness rather than relying on the authority of government or religious figures. Another way to embrace individualism lies in recognizing the unique quality of one's own world view. Each of us are the centers of our own realities, and therefore each of our realities is slightly different from the person next to us. While acknowledging our reality as unique seems fairly obvious, staying aware of that fact everyday and every minute is hard. But once accomplished, it can lead to a truly Romantic life.

As a society, we tend to praise those things that are unique because originality implies a particular type of beauty - beauty in knowledge that an object or idea cannot be experienced anywhere else.
If we can internalize that we view everything - literally everything - through a personalized lens, then perhaps it is possible to acknowledge our daily lives as unique and beautiful. Not just vast landscapes and exotic wildlife are beautiful on a hike through the great Midwest, but also the awareness that I'm the only person in the world to see the horizon the exact way I do. In the same way, we all see something that we call the color blue. However, that wavelength looks slightly different to each person, though we may not know it.

To me, practicing Romanticism in our lives means finding beauty in those things that are unconventional. Ordinary things, while not unconventional, are too often overlooked for qualities of beauty. It's time that we gazed a little longer at that chair in Mr. Heidkamp's class, focus a little more on the feeling of the concrete against our shoes, and appreciate the gray windowsills throughout the building. Though these things may not stimulate our senses, they are uniquely seen by all of us. That fact alone, should give them a beauty we don't recognize enough.

School and Romanticism

Today, our school system severely limits a student’s ability to be romantic. Romanticism emphasized strong emotions, imagination, breaking free of systems and an appreciation of everyday life. At school, we take part in a strict schedule of 8 periods everyday where we attend the same classes at the same time every single day.

The long school day and homework also leaves little time after school for students to experience nature. Even stricter than the periods we attend everyday are the rules that we are forced to abide by in order to be deemed as successful.

Furthermore, in our classes we also follow strict schedules and complete assignments that rarely allow for much imagination at all. This shows how our school system holds us back from realizing our romantic potential.

The Label of Romantic

Romanticism is dead. At least, in the sense that the movement itself is no longer around, just as Middle English is no longer really around. The effects of the movement are certainly still visible, but the 'Romantic' period and people are long gone. And in a way they never really were there. The act of labeling a 'Romantic' as Romantic is itself sort of against the movements ideals. As a reactionary movement against the Scientific Revolution and its organization and classifications of nature, the labeling and classifying of Romanticism is doing exactly what it opposed, which creates a hard situation. How do you study and learn about a subject that is at heart against being named? That is why I say 'Romanticism' is dead, and died as soon as people began to label and recognize it as Romantic. You can disagree with me, and probably come with a much stronger argument for Romanticism being alive and well, but to me, the movement is dead. Something can still be labeled Romantic and it would make sense, but to me, I can't get certain idea out of my head. When you are filled with awe upon seeing a mountain, or happiness when you see the pure joy of a dog getting a ball, you don't think "that's so Romantic", you just let the moment wash over you and appreciate it. When you eat a good meal, you just think about how tasty it is. When you are giddy, you are just giddy. Trying to find Romanticism in everyday life is like taking pictures of everything you do; it takes you out of the moment so that you can't really appreciate it for what it is. That's why Romanticism, to me at least, is dead.

Effect of Romanticism

When I think of romanticism, I think of the true stories of Cheryl Strayed and Chris McCandless, two Americans in their 20's who, inspired by nature decide to go find themselves within it. Both of these real people are seen in their respective biographical books/movies to have an affinity for transcendentalist poets such as Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson. Strayed and McCandless both use these poets as inspirations to escape the clutches of society. While Strayed's story has a happy ending as hiking on the Pacific Coast Trail helps her deal with her divorce and her mother's death, McCandless' story ends with him unable to return to society and dying along in a abandoned school bus. While Strayed's story tells the positives of nature as a healing force, McCandless' story is about the dangers of the over-romanticism of nature. Throughout the movie Into the Wild, McCandless focuses on escaping the oppressive clutches of society as well as a desfunctional family situation, he convinces himself that nature is his answer after reading transcendental poems but never stops to think that maybe nature will be his own undoing. Because of his exposure to the romanticism of nature, McCandless nevr considers that nature may be just as cruel as society and this cruelness ends up killing him.

Beauty and The Beast

When I first started searching for films that embodied the ideals of Romanticism I didn't expect to find anything I would have seen. But, I soon realized that a lot of the films that take into account the various aspects from the era. A modern day Romantic example of pop culture is the film Beauty and the Beast.

To begin, one of the most obvious ideas associated with Romanticism is a connection with nature. In the film Belle, the main character, is seen in various scenes strolling through meadows or forests. In these scenes she isn't just passing through, but embracing her surroundings from the wind to the grass on the ground. In most of these instances she also takes time to acknowledge important conflicts or appreciate the people close to her. 

Another aspect of Romanticism expressed in the film is an important hero. In this film Belle definitely exemplifies this aspect. Belle doesn't conform to society's ideals. She is made fun of for reading where other women are swooning over the villain, Gaston. She eventually ends up falling in love with the beast which can be seen as unconventional. The beast can also be seen as a hero as he is an outcast from society and also acts against society's ideals for a "beast." He doesn't kill Gaston even though he had the chance. Everybody expects him to kill the people of the town but instead he expresses emotions and feelings 

I didn't expect to find a modern day example of Romanticism let alone be something that I have watched so many times. After analyzing this film, I guess you could say Romanticism is still alive.

Romanticism is Still Here

Romanticism originated in Europe at the end of the 18th century. The movement emphasized intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing a new emphasis on emotions such as apprehension, horror/terror, and awe. It especially appealed to experiences in addressing the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. Some famous writers and poets of this period include William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. All of these names are people who have contributed greatly to the genre of romanticism, but ultimately all of them are long deceased. So a new question arises: Is Romanticism Still Alive Today? The answer to this is yes; I do not believe that Romanticism is bound to writing and famous artists. It survives today in our everyday lives. Unfortunately we live in the Midwest, starved of any great mountains, forest, desert. However, this doesn't mean our lives are devoid of romantic traits. The beauty of nature can be found everywhere, even if it doesn't appear readily available to the eye. A rabbit running across the street, squirrels climbing in the trees, or blooming flowers, the ideals of romanticism are everywhere. Even instances that don´t seem like they fit the ideals of romanticism may actually be real examples of it. For example, on a Saturday night when I was driving home after a failed stakeout for assassins, I was driving very contently when suddenly, out of the dark of the night, a possum slowly jogged across the road. I slammed on the brakes and swerved, narrowly avoided the cat-sized, rat-like creature of the night. Although this doesn't seem like a romantic encounter, it still is. Even some of the ugliest creatures on earth fit the ideals of romanticism. So short encounters like this prove to me that Romanticism is still alive today.

The first example of modern Romanticism I could think of is the movie Boyhood. I saw the movie with my family when it came out, in 2014, and I thought it was an interesting idea, but a little drawn out, which made it super boring. However, the movie was based on a simplicity, following an experience that every human being has, and turning it into long, long movie. 

Personally, I dont think Romanticism is something that will ever go away, because people will always be motivated and extremely inspired by nature, and the small things in life. Boyhood is not the only Romantic movie I've seen. 

This year, I saw Lady Bird with my family. Similarly to BoyhoodLady Bird is a movie that expresses a common experience in a beautiful way, I cried the entire movie. I could go on an on about movies, and songs in today's culture that are truly Romantic, and that move people because they can relate. Romanticism is still alive today, because people can relate to it, and continue to feel inspired by the things that inspired the Romantics. 

An Endless Romantic Opportunity

 What is romanticism? To boil things down a little, romanticism is a style and mindset that seeks to celebrate emotion, individuality, and rejects established ideals and systems for nature and its guidance.

Romantic artists would look almost solely to nature as their muse, finding that they are able to find the most beauty and individuality with the trees, grass, breeze, flowers, and sun. Why was this? Would they feel the same way today? Much of the romantic movement was focused on moving away from the way society existed as it was, returning to a natural perspective, free from judgement, able to live the way one saw fit. Nature was infinite beauty, and once entered, no one told you who to be or how to do what you liked except yourself. Romantic writers would take this idea and run with it, escaping from many of the previous writing conventions for poetry, even believing that their writing would change the world. Their movement evokes freedom at its core. Uninhibited freedom.

So what else do we know that is nearly infinite, allows for strong emotion, individuality, free thinking, and change? If it takes you more than like five seconds to come up with the answer I have in mind, let me ask what you're reading this post on. The internet. Beautiful, dangerous, ugly, safe, and unimaginably vast. The internet itself embodies humanity. It is a record of the collective consciousness of our entire species. Even those who are not directly online are reflected in one way or another. This echo chamber that we love so much is the new romantic landscape. Introspection and individuality come rising to the top for people as soon as they hit social media. Anonymity lets people be themselves, regardless of how ugly or beautiful that self may be. People can try to tell others how to be or what they should do, but all one has to do is look the other way. Romantic artists were judged for sure. People who chose to live in the woods all day and write long winded poetry for a living are going to get looked at funny. They chose to look away and stay true to themselves and carry on. The same goes online. Even those who do cave to peer pressure can learn a ton about themselves and further understand who they are and how they fit into the landscape of the universe. What about nature itself? The trees, the sun, the rain, and the flowers? Just google it. Just typing in nature is more than enough to conjure images of decades of travel. While it may only appeal to sight, and maybe sound if you watch a video, nature can be largely captured still. If you need the complete experience, congratulations, the internet will follow along in your pocket.

The internet is the second coming of nature. Our second teacher who just learns more and more, and learns to teach even better about ourselves. Hunching over our cell phones in our own little bubbles may seem closed off, but what is a screen other than a window to the knowledge and experiences of centuries of people? So is romanticism dead? What would the old romantics think of today? For some final context, the romantic movement took place before humans even had radios. Television did not exist. People were limited to the thoughts and ideas of those immediately surrounding them. If you did not fit in there, you were alone. There really weren't many other people, and it would be hard to see other perspectives like we can today. How would people not look to free themselves from that kind of system? I think romantics would find the internet just as liberating as we do, even with all of the problems it brings.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why Comedy is the Romantic's Future

In the year 1989, Jerry Seinfeld saved Romanticism. In my opinion, of the key factors that we learned to determine whether or not something followed Romantic ideology, the focus on the individual self and experience was the most striking. While it may be only one of many determining factors, I feel like it was the only part of the movement that was truly completely unique to any specifically western social and artistic movement.

The way in which Jerry Seinfeld saved Romanticism was through portraying the importance of everyday life. It was one of the first times in recent history that a show about nothing outside of regular peoples lives had a major audience. Unlike any sort of family values show, Seinfeld was truly a show depicting how bizarre life is, and how we should appreciate it for its quirks and errors. More importantly though, Seinfeld taught us to revel in our individual lives and appreciate the importance of something as stupid as ordering soup, or even changing barbers. 

However, this new wave of comedy has not died down. The most specific example of this would be the show, Big Mouth.  The show follows two boys through puberty, a natural and universal experience that is still somehow so completely individual. The show focuses on the most basic things that every adult has gone through, but that's the beauty of it. It is a return to this depiction of normal life, and finding the beauty and the hilarity in the fact that life is not something to just take for granted. The ability to have these experiences, and now depict them to a wide audience who can laugh about them, and relate in their own very personal individual way is amazing. I think that society is incredibly Romantic. It might be in a nuanced way that relies on laughs and electricity, but the Romanticism is all around.

Sci-fi or Romanticism?

Many people may think that Romanticism was a thing of the past, only a small time period. However, Romanticism can be seen everywhere today. Even in science-fiction, which is one of the last things you might think of as Romantic. Sci-fi demands the watcher/reader's imagination as it twists their perception of the world. Reason would dictate that much of what occurs in sci-fi is impossible, but you automatically want to believe it is real; it triggers your imagination. In addition, by defying the natural laws, it displays the importance of nature when we notice it is missing. It draws our attention to what is missing, and the smallest parts of nature suddenly play an obvious major role. It also plays a similar role in contrasting from everyday life, allowing us appreciation of the simple parts of life we suddenly find are missing.

Strong emotion also plays an obvious role in sci-fi. Any media is not enjoyable or worthwhile unless it evokes strong emotion. Sci-fi can evoke a whole range of emotions, from fear to anger, or excitement and joy. It also articulates one individual perspective, generally a human facing an unnatural problem. This allows the reader/watcher to connect it to their own (hopefully less extreme) problems in everyday life.

The Hypocrisy of This Assignment

I'm not trying to call anyone out, but its about time for another rant about the problems clearly apparent in the structure of the American education system.
I think there is hypocrisy in this assignment in that we are analyzing romantic poems that are telling us to stop analyzing them and go experience the world around us firsthand. Not that education is not important, it very much is. But if indoor, logical, one perspective analysis is all we do, we are not taking advantage of the opportunities presented to us by the world by simply existing in it.
Romanticism is all about praising nature and questioning the normalcy of typical societal expectations. Yet we follow a schedule every day in school or work that encourages if not forces us to cling to rigidity. I think this is a reason why we find there is a significant gap between our ability to learn the technical aspects of a subject versus our ability to apply them in the real world. And, if we're being honest, education is mainly here to prepare us for the "real world", and to equip us with the understanding of the world so that we can better it. But if we remain locked away from the world, how are we to change it?
Yes, reading and analyzing poetry has its benefits and importance. Most things do. But it would be irresponsible of us as analysts to not consider the opposite perspective.

Rororomanticism Gently Down The Stream

When I think of the lasting effect of Romanticism I think of my right to have a personal, private and individualistic approach to viewing art. The movement not only values individual’s inner impulses to create art but also one’s reactions to the art and that’s what I love so much about it. 

I would not consider myself an artist therefore I experience art as a witness. I think this movement validates emotional attachment to art, which is one of my greatest weaknesses. I find myself going back to the same paintings at art museums over and over again, printing out poetry and putting it on my walls. I sometimes even tape printed out song lyrics on the walls of my shower so I can practice for when I’m singing in my head with my earphones in. It has gotten to the point where I´ll get attached to pretty looking trash I find on the street and then carry it around in my pockets for weeks. I think Romanticism encourages befriending yourself, discovering quirks and validating your own experience as you live it.

I feel like there is so much in life where the end goal is to learn something or better yourself in some noticeable way but the way Romantics define art allows us to be more meditative and mindful and introspective.

This might be too meta: maybe I am getting overly Romantic and misinterpreting the movement but... isn’t it all about subjectivity?


Recently, I have discovered a love for walking in nature. The serenity that nature offers is unparalleled. I can identity with the poets of the Romanticism era because I, too, understand how they sought their escape and self-expression through nature. When I am surrounded by nature, I feel content to the point where my worries are gotten. It is easy for individualism to thrive when one is surrounded by solely nature because there are less pressures present than in the unnatural world. Similarly, simply being around nature conveys a vibe of naturalness, purity, and solidarity. A couple weeks ago, my friend and I visited our college campus and made a stop at the state park nearby. It was a cooler day when we went, and there was a dusting of snow as well as more coming down. We spent hours observing and soaking up the ambiance the park had to offer. Almost immediately as I entered, I felt a different vibe. Being surrounded by towering, beautiful trees is hard to acutely describe, but it definitely inspires romanticism.