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Transcendentalism Essay, Research Paper

Transcendentalism is a philosophy that was made popular in the early 1800’s by

Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, two New England authors. It opposed

the strict ritualism of all established religious institutions. Transcendentalist were

influenced by romanticism, especially such aspects as self-examination, individualism, and

the beauties of nature and humankind. They expressed semireligious feelings toward

nature, and saw a direct connection between the universe and the individual soul. In this

view, the purpose of human life was union with the so-called Over-Soul. Intuition, rather

than reason, was regarded as the highest human ability.

The transcendentalism philosophy also includes getting back to the more simple

things in life. Transcendentalists believed that man should love nature, and learn as much

as he can from it. In “Nature”, Emerson said, “I am the lover of uncontained and

immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in the

streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the

horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature. Thoreau took this part of

the philosophy to extremes; he built a small cabin, and lived in a secluded area on Walden

Pond with only the bare necessities to sustain him for two years. He kept a journal and

wrote a book about his experiences titled “Walden.” In his book, Thoreau explained his

reasoning by saying, “I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life…”

Transcendentalism has affected modern society in many ways. In recent years,

there has been an increasing interest in nature and the environment because of its declining

condition. Ironically, the advancing technology and modernization which continues to

separate man further and further from nature, is bringing him closer to it. Because of the

destruction it is causing, man is beginning to appreciate nature.

Transcendentalism has inspired many modern leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King

Jr., John Wilcoxson, and Ghandi, were all influenced by transcendentalist ideas.

Movements

in America such as the civil rights movements and the women’s’ rights movements had

their

bases in transcendentalism. Individuals, such as naturalists and environmentalists, who are

concerned with the natural state of the environment or themselves are expressing a form of

transcendentalism.

Transcendentalism has had somewhat of an influence on me. I enjoy being

immersed in nature, I am mildly concerned with the decreasing state of the environment,

and I believe, like Emerson and Thoreau, that the world is too complicated and that man

should get back to nature. I still could not function without the complications of modern

life which I have become so accustomed to, though.

Transcendentalism has had a major affect on modern society. Without the writings

of Emerson, Thoreau, and other transcendentalist writers, the world today would be a

much different place in which to live.

Transcendentalism is a philosophy that was made popular in the early 1800’s by

Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, two New England authors. It opposed

the strict ritualism of all established religious institutions. Transcendentalist were

influenced by romanticism, especially such aspects as self-examination, individualism, and

the beauties of nature and humankind. They expressed semireligious feelings toward

nature, and saw a direct connection between the universe and the individual soul. In this

view, the purpose of human life was union with the so-called Over-Soul. Intuition, rather

than reason, was regarded as the highest human ability.

The transcendentalism philosophy also includes getting back to the more simple

things in life. Transcendentalists believed that man should love nature, and learn as much

as he can from it. In “Nature”, Emerson said, “I am the lover of uncontained and

immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in the

streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the

horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature. Thoreau took this part of

the philosophy to extremes; he built a small cabin, and lived in a secluded area on Walden

Pond with only the bare necessities to sustain him for two years. He kept a journal and

wrote a book about his experiences titled “Walden.” In his book, Thoreau explained his

reasoning by saying, “I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life…”

Transcendentalism has affected modern society in many ways. In recent years,

there has been an increasing interest in nature and the environment because of its declining

condition. Ironically, the advancing technology and modernization which continues to

separate man further and further from nature, is bringing him closer to it. Because of the

destruction it is causing, man is beginning to appreciate nature.

Transcendentalism has inspired many modern leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King

Jr., John Wilcoxson, and Ghandi, were all influenced by transcendentalist ideas.

Movements

in America such as the civil rights movements and the women’s’ rights movements had

their

bases in transcendentalism. Individuals, such as naturalists and environmentalists, who are

concerned with the natural state of the environment or themselves are expressing a form of

transcendentalism.

Transcendentalism has had somewhat of an influence on me. I enjoy being

immersed in nature, I am mildly concerned with the decreasing state of the environment,

and I believe, like Emerson and Thoreau, that the world is too complicated and that man

should get back to nature. I still could not function without the complications of modern

life which I have become so accustomed to, though.

Transcendentalism has had a major affect on modern society. Without the writings

of Emerson, Thoreau, and other transcendentalist writers, the world today would be a

much different place in which to live.


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