Transcendentalism Reflective Essay Thesis

Essay about Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism was an early philosophical, intellectual, and literary movement that thrived in New England in the nineteenth century. Transcendentalism was a collection of new ideas about literature, religion, and philosophy. It began as a squabble in the Unitarian church when intellectuals began questioning and reacting against many of the church’s orthodoxy ways regarding all of the aforementioned subjects: religion, culture, literature, social reform, and philosophy. They in turn developed their own faith focusing on the divinity of humanity and the innate world. Many of the Transcendentalists ideas were expressed heavily by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essays such as “Nature”, “Self Reliance”, and also in his poems such as “The…show more content…

They believed that God was directly inborn in every individual, much different than the church’s ideas. God could neither be understood nor described—but he can be experienced through nature and through the self. The idea of God in this sense was viewed negatively by many orthodox churches. American Transcendentalism was seen as a very radical movement during this time and was not accepted by many. Ideas of secular spirituality were now breaking through, and the Transcendentalists were trying to disconnect from organized religion and move away from Enlightenment ideas.
One of the most famous texts ever written for the sheer purpose of Transcendentalism was Emerson’s Self Reliance. In his essay, he writes about the importance of nonconformity and individualism. In Self Reliance, Emerson tells us to “trust thyself.” From only two words, one can gather the whole purpose of his essay. With nonconformity, man can defend himself against the tendency to become satisfied with life, and lose his own individuality. With “good- humored inflexibility” the self-reliant person can become someone who obeys himself. When it comes to a battle of law or a battle of morals, the self-reliant man will follow his morals and discard the law. One is not to use their logic, but use intuition. Emerson simply was striving for not the superiority of one man, but for originality and individuality of all humankind. He wanted to

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