Transcendentalist Ideas in Eminem's Song '25 to Life'

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Transcendentalism, the idea of being yourself, ridding yourself of your materialistic values, acknowledging your uniqueness, and doing things on your own, not letting others do it for you. Transcendentalism was practiced during the 18th century and their ideas are still being practiced to this day. The changes in society and advancement in technology have given birth to a need for transcendentalism because of our dependence on technology to do things for us. The ideas that the transcendentalists believed in about doing things on your own, and re-evaluating yourself to realize what you want to do in life, are seen in music and writing today. In Eminem's song ‘25 to Life’, he speaks about how he devoted himself to rap and how he realized he was being mistreated and disrespected, and instead of letting it continue he decided to resolve his problem with his job by himself. Eminem’s song ‘25 to Life’ portrays re-evaluating yourself by showing that he’s not being treated right, his song also conveys self-reliance by stating what he’s going to do and the effect of him doing it, additionally in his song he expresses spiritualism by stating the way he feels after he comes to his realization.

‘25 to Life’ is about Eminem’s thinking about how he is being treated by the job he’s in, and not just letting them get away with it, so he decided to leave. You can see self-reliance in the quote where he says he won't “keep chasing ‘em” anymore and he is going to be taking his life back. This shows that he wants to be free, respected, and break free from the direction he's going. Emerson, the philosopher, said something similar: “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events”. Eminem shows and Emerson believed that you should trust in yourself and that every heart is different. Eminem's song continues with the idea that he doesn't want to be disrespected and he wants to leave. “Now my respect I demand it. I’ma take control of this relationship to command it, and I’ma be the boss of you now goddammit”. This goes with a quote from Thoreau: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer”. Eminem in the song doesn't want to keep working for a job that doesn't respect him so he wants to change his job to something that gives as much as he gives.

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In the song ‘25 to life’, Eminem was evaluating his life, and the choices he made to get where he is now, seeing all the things he did and went through for the job. “Took me for granted took my heart and ran it straight into the planet into the dirt can no longer stand it”. This quote explains how he feels at the time he feels like he’s being treated like dirt. This goes with a quote from Emerson: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles”. These quotes relate to each other because for Eminem he sees how they treat him and he realizes that what he's doing will not make him happy in life. Another example of an examination of self-expressed in Eminem’s song was when he says, “take away their freedom like you did to me treated like they ain't worthy of you”, showing that he knows that his freedom was stiped away and is treated like this not meant to be there. This can also relate to Henry David’s quote “Humility, like darkness reveals the heavenly lights”, which means that the problems in your life reveal what you truly want to do in the end. Moreover, this relates to Eminem’s quote because once he realizes all the wrong in his life and it clears a path giving him a realization that it's not what he wants.

In Eminem's song ‘25 to Life’, he realizes that he wants to change what he's doing in life and decides to act upon that thought. In Eminem's song, he says, “I'm addicted to this pain, the stress, the drama I'm drawn in so I guess I'm a mess cursed and blessed but this time I ain't changing my mind I'm climbing out this abyss”. This means that he’s going to leave no matter what, this relates to what Emerson says, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events”, meaning trust your gut because everyone is different and accept that what goes against it is not meant for you, as well as his other quote, “Always do what you are afraid to do”. These quotes connect with Eminem because at this point he realized that he kept backing away from leaving, and now he's not backing down he is going to leave and he won't let anything stop him. Another quote from Eminem that represents self-reliance is when he says, “I told you, you'd be sorry if I fucking left, I'd laugh while you wept”. This quote relates to Emerson's quote “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect”, because Eminem didn’t conform and stay, he went through with what he said and left.

In conclusion, Eminem's song ‘25 to Life’ portrays the re-evaluation of self and self-reliance. In his song he shows re-evaluation of self when he says “took me for granted took my heart and ran it straight into the planet into the dirt can no longer stand it”, “take away their freedom like you did to me treated like they ain't worthy of you”. His song shows revaluation when he says “I told you, you'd be sorry if I fucking left, I'd laugh while you wept”, and “now my respect I demand it I’ma take control of this relationship to command it, and I’ma be the boss of you now goddammit”. I believe that Eminem's song connects to the transcendentalist ideas because the lyrics in his song relates to lots of the ideas by famous philosophers, it shows that these ideas are still being used to this day whether intentionally or unintentionally it's still being used. In the end, it proves that we all still follow and practice these ideas so on the inside were all transcendentalism without knowing it.

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Transcendentalist Ideas in Eminem’s Song ’25 to Life’. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/transcendentalist-ideas-in-eminems-song-25-to-life/
“Transcendentalist Ideas in Eminem’s Song ’25 to Life’.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/transcendentalist-ideas-in-eminems-song-25-to-life/
Transcendentalist Ideas in Eminem’s Song ’25 to Life’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/transcendentalist-ideas-in-eminems-song-25-to-life/> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Transcendentalist Ideas in Eminem’s Song ’25 to Life’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/transcendentalist-ideas-in-eminems-song-25-to-life/
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