A few days ago, there was a busker in my vicinity playing the pan flute for a good two hours. There’s just something about the pan flute – you hear it, and after about 10 minutes thoughts like ‘lets grow a herb garden’ or ‘lets quit my job, join a naturalist community and live in the rainforest’ just spring to mind.
I’m mentioning this intense pan flute solo which flooded my ear-hole because after I resisted the urge to live amongst the trees, it reminded me of my favourite thing about the romanticism movement.
Romanticism was a particular mood in the 19th century within poetry, literature and artistic expression in general. Emerging as a reaction to the Enlightenment, romanticism can be defined as a longing to revert back to a nostalgic version of the past. As an ideal, it was centred around a deep reverence for nature, beauty, imagination, the personal and the sublime.
Now my favourite thing to happen within romanticism isn’t a particular piece of literature or a poem: it’s a very first-world thing romantic poet and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, did.
Coleridge, bless him, is pretty much what I’d be like if I was a contestant on Survivor. What happened was he had bought some land and was persuading like-minded people to join him in creating a small utopia – where they would all work the land, share their property and rule themselves.
But the idea was abandoned due to Coleridge’s unwillingness to give up his own property or live without his servants – comparable to someone impulsively ordering a tent they don’t actually want after watching Into the Wild while they’re drunk.
I mean come on Colerigde! Nobody heard Rousseau having a big girly whinge when he crossed the Alps alone on foot.