Many people would be happy and satisfied if they were in a relationship with money and fame. Doesn’t that seem like the perfect life? Everyone begins to think that in life that’s all that matters, and that’s all they need, nothing could be better. Society dictates our morals, feelings, the way we do things and try’s to tell us certain things we do are wrong and we need to do them the way they feel necessary. Our generations to come will have no clue what the meaning of a true, harmonious, happy life. They begin to think that not telling the truth is ok , and eventually get so use to it that even if they could hear the truth they wouldn’t want to. It becomes part of their daily life. Clearly our society, or government has their own sneaky, conniving ways to try and brain wash everyone. Due to the problem that most people would rather have love, money, and fame, it’s very rare to find some one who doesn’t have any of that but is satisfied with only knowing the truth. People look up to celebrities, but they do not set good examples or try to be role models. In proposing a solution to the problem of adhering to the actions of celebrities, the analysis relates to Henry David Thoreau’s belief in individuality as he talked about in his book Walden.
Who is your hero? Usually the answer to this question, at least for many of us, involves a famous actor or singer, a celebrity. The celebrities of the world are the wealthiest, most beautiful and most stylish individuals to walk upon the planet. These icons, however, seem to have no moral dilemma whatsoever with corrupting the public. They are role models to the public, just as parents are role models to their children. Children mirror the actions of their parents, as does society the actions of celebrities. Suddenly, few people in the world are content because they do not live the same lifestyle as Madonna or Michael Jordan. Henry David Thoreau offers solutions in his work, Walden, to the constant societal problems we experience. Society feels the need to conform to the actions of famous individuals, resulting in problems such as abandonment of individuality, appeal to materialism and a focus on status and wealth. These issues can be resolved, following the advice offered by Thoreau.
We all often abandon our views to accept those of celebrities because we feel that being different is unacceptable. We change our very own lives, and ways of thought. We see the shows about lives of celebrities, the powerful people of the world, and experience pressure to be like them. If Jessica Simpson reveals her secret diet to the public during a television interview, chances are that the thousands of women watching will rush right out to the grocery store and purchase the exact foods that Jessica ate so they can try her diet. Women are often so concerned about what being “up-to date” and “fashionable” by following Jessica’s diet that they lose sight of what is really important. This is just one of the problems that falls under the category of being deceived by celebrities. Are these women taking her advice because they believe they will be able to improve themselves, or are they taking it because she is the one giving the advice? The never-ending pursuit of “transforming” into a celebrity makes us incontinent with the lives we already have, or could have.
By putting effort in trying to live just like celebrities, we forget that we have our own lives to live. Thoreau stresses the importance of acceptance; an individual must learn to accept the life that he or she is given and live it to the fullest. “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise.” This quote indicates that each of us is given the life we have for a purpose; we need to accept that life is never perfect, but that imperfections are learning experiences that help us to grow. It is pointless, then, to waste energy conforming to the lifestyle of a celebrity, given that they too are imperfect. “Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.”
People always try to be the best, but Thoreau further says that it is not necessary to be “the best” as long as one can better him or herself by living a self-reliant life. Only those of us who accept who we are can truly begin to live. We should live our lives to the fullest instead of dwelling on how much money and fame we could have. A stream of materialism runs crazy throughout our society, often because of famous people. How many times do we turn on the television or go to the store and see magazines or advertisements featuring celebrities? We find it difficult to ignore the things that are constantly shown, or flashed by the rich and famous. Fashions, for example, are dictated by celebrities. Suddenly, long coats are stylish just because wore one. Is it so awesome to buy something original, or better yet, to resist from buying at all? Most of the clothes or other possessions we own are not needed; they are little, useless purchases only made because some celebrity made us think that we need that. Addressing this issue, Thoreau advises people to possess nothing more than is absolutely necessary. “It is desirable that a man be clad so simply that he can lay his hands on himself in the dark, and that he lives in all respects so compactly and preparedly that, if an enemy take the town, he can walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety”.
This quote shows that having less possessions allows an individual to stay disconnected from materialism and to experience life itself. Society, however, hardly follows this logic. Items we once possessed simply out of necessity are now “not good enough.” Why do we buy one pair of shorts when it is equally easy to have two for ten more dollars? Perhaps the greater question is why anyone would want to possess more than what they need. The concept of materialism is shown in magazines and newspapers, which are products as well as false sources of information. These “trusty” documents recount all of the most important “news” so that people can stay informed on the secret lives of celebrities. Is it really so important to know exactly who’s dating who, or are these publications just disguised collections of unnecessary gossip? On the subject of publications, Thoreau simply says, “One is enough”. Once an individual realizes the hypocrisy in daily papers, it is not necessary to continue to buy them. Unfortunately, we continue to purchase magazines and newspapers because we have a craving for any kind of information. Knowing everything about every celebrity has become one of the central points of our lives.
The most educational experiences encountered are the ones that directly affect the life of an individual. The lives of a few wealthy movie stars in Hollywood not only barely resemble anything educational, but they consume our lives entirely. It is much more rewarding to focus on our own lives than to waste hours pouring over the latest Hollywood breakup; people should use these hours to live out something that benefits their immediate lives. Celebrities often lure society into believing that fame and wealth are the two most important concepts. What is money, exactly? Does having money automatically better one’s intelligence? Unfortunately, it seems that some well-respected wealthy celebrities possess neither intelligence nor temperance. People work long hours every day to earn as much money as possible, to be promoted or to be recognized in some way so that they can lead a “perfect” life just like a celebrity. Less fortunate people are sometimes deceived in their priorities by thinking that having money will bring about happiness. What they do not recognize is that by having less, they live a much more happy life, as Thoreau points out.
“Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch” . The absence of money forces one to appreciate his or her few needed possessions, and to focus on life itself. We should not constantly focus our efforts on achieving as much wealth as celebrities. Similar to wealth, “fame” is misleading. Everyone wants to be respected, appreciated, and even envied by others. When we see someone walking down the red carpet, we often think, `it must be nice to be so admired’. If it is truly so wonderful to be admired, then why do so many admired celebrities seem so miserable? Being placed on a pedestal seems fun at first, but human nature never fails to remind even the famous that status is not everything. Thoreau advises people to value their thoughts instead of fame. “From an army of three divisions one can take away its general, and put it in disorder; from the man the most abject and vulgar one cannot take away his thought”.
This quote shows that our thoughts are more important that what others think of us, and that wealth and status are only illusions. Only self-improvement and the best essentials can make people see that life is not about fantasies; life is about reality. Henry David Thoreau offers a solution to each of the problems faced by society because of celebrities. Thoreau strongly believes that individuality is a gift, and that it should under no circumstances be cast aside to adopt the views of someone else. “Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away” . People should follow their true beliefs even if they are alone in their views. It is never beneficial to the life of an individual to mimic the actions of a celebrity, or any other person. Being unique enables us to see life differently, which adds a certain richness that cannot otherwise be experienced. Thoreau advocates simplicity in response to growing materialism. “Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion” . This quote shows that we should live without a lot of materials that we accumulate constantly.
As Thoreau says, we do not need hundreds of dishes to be happy; hundreds of dishes will hardly be used. Similarly, people should reduce their possessions to the bare minimum to ensure that their lives are not cluttered by burdens. Thoreau encourages simplicity in a different sense when referring to wealth and fame. “The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot”. People who do not have money can often clear their minds of the unnecessary worry that comes with wealth and status. By taking the simple, harder route, a person can learn more than they could have if they had shutting out the world. We are defined by our actions and experiences, not by how much money or fame we possess. We all too often desire to the actions of celebrities in an attempt to better ourselves.
This only leads to abandonment of individuality, appeal to materialism and a focus on status and wealth. Imitating the actions of celebrities makes people discontent with their own lives and distracts them from focusing on improving what they already have. Rampant materialism can lead society into a downward spiral, emphasizing more possessions instead of simple pleasures. The status and wealth of celebrities are only illusions, forcing individuals to value the opinion of others above their own. To imitate celebrities is to welcome corruption in our society. It is infinitely more gratifying to accept an imperfect life and to embrace it; in time, perhaps imperfections will become unforgettable experiences. Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.