English 11 3rd
January 15th 2014
Transcendentalism: The seekers summary
If mid-1960s was the time for the hippy culture to arise, 1830s and 1840s presented the development of another culture called Transcendentalism. A culture which individualism and nature acted as a moral guide. The passage “Transcendentalism: The Seekers” gave us a brief introduction about this religious and philosophical movement .
No one could have guessed one man’s crisis of confidence became a revolution in American thought. It began when a Boston pastor named Ralph Waldo Emerson questioned his faith. Emerson was the man who started it all. In 1833, the movement was brought into United States through Emerson’s speech at Harvard University. Emerson’s main point was individualism should be placed first in a world which governments and organizations had total control and authority. He believed that people will work their best if they were by themselves or independent. Nature also plays an important role in Emerson’s belief. He pointed out that nature is a part of God so that we should become one with nature in order to live closer with God. One of Emerson protégé Henry David Thoreau wrote a book called Walden to recall his life in the woods. In 1845, Thoreau decided to give up all his material and went to build himself a cottage to live in. According to Transcendentalism, society should experience a simple life, liv in a loving communion with nature. Even though many found Emerson to be a heretic, numerous supporters came to Concord, Massachusetts to visit him. The event marked an era for Transcendentalism.
Transcendentalism had a large impact on American minds. Until modern days, there are still some traits of individualism. Did you know the hippy got their idea from this culture? A lot of revolutionary leader such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr have adapted Emerson’s ideas.