Transcendental Technology



I recently read the article “Thoreau and the iPad” (link below) and greatly appreciate the paradox Zarate explores. The article recognizes the necessities of a humane life beyond just means to sustain a human life as it states, “the transcendentalist in the woods needs his journal and his books—they preserve his humanity no less than clothing or shelter—but they, too, need to be reined in.” The seemingly artificial iPad is actually a perfect fit as it lets a transcendentalist read and write until the battery life is depleted and then no more. Perhaps, Thoreau may not have condemned the use of the iPad after all! Thoreau expresses his unwillingness to “sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands.” He acknowledges where there are some moments when physical or mental work are neither required nor should be forced.

They are miraculous moments whose divinity comes from the absence of work from one’s vessel of the soul, and allows the soul to simply indulge in the sweet essence of simply being in full awareness of a present state of being.

In contrast to Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am), it requires no thought, it simply is.  


Walden outlived its original medium, and will undoubtedly outlive the iPad as well. The reality is, whatever medium it is presented through, there are certain maxims that resonate with a scope and intensity that “outruns” that of technology.


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