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The Martian: Modern Transcendentalism

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Cybelle Kaehler

on 6 January 2016

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Transcript of The Martian: Modern Transcendentalism

Nonconformity (Cont.)
Mark Watney embodied nonconformity in that he is stubborn, headstrong, and determined to do what he believes is the right thing no matter what. He isn't afraid to challenge authority and has little interest in censoring his thoughts for politeness. "Me: 'This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?' NASA: 'No. You'll mess it up and die.' So I took it apart." -Andy Weir, The Martian
Self- Reliance
Self-Reliance (Cont.)
Mark Watney embodies self-reliance because he literally survives on Mars alone, without even NASA contacting him, for several months. He takes apart equipment and uses it to solve problems in ways that no one ever has before. Even when NASA is able to give him tips, he relies on his own mind to keep him alive.
"As usual, I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn. But no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen.”
The Martian: Modern Transcendentalism
"Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther... every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh" -Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self- Reliance"
"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind" -Emerson, Self- Reliance
Connection to Nature
"In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature." - Emerson, Nature
Connection to Nature (Cont.)
Mark Watney embodies connection to nature because his a botanist who uses his skills to grow crops on Mars. He is able to care for his plants so that they survive even in the harshest conditions.
"But in the end, if everything goes to plan, I’ll have 92 square meters of crop-able soil. Heck yeah I’m a botanist! Fear my botany powers!”
Favoring Intuition Over Reason
"No facts are to me sacred, none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back."
-Emerson, Circles
Favoring Intuition Over Reason (Cont.)
"It was right where I left it, in a hole four kilometers away. Only an idiot would keep that thing near the Hab. So anyway, I brought it back to the Hab.”
Mark Watney chooses intuition over reason often
when he makes on the spot decisions about how
to solve the problems of his survival. In this
quote, he uses a dangerous lump of plutonium
to heat the rover so he we have enough power
to make his journey.
A Simple Life
"Our life is frittered away by detail."
-Thoreau, Walden
A Simple Life (Cont.)
During most of his time on Mars, Mark had no one to talk to and little pastimes. He had to make do with either working or watching 70s reruns, and he managed to keep his sanity.
“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.” LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
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