A definition of religion and transcendentalism

Transcendentalism centered on the divinity of each individual, but this divinity could be discovered only if the person had the independence of mind to do so. The theistic form of belief in this tradition, even when downgraded culturally, is formative of the dichotomous Western view of religion. In his essay " The Transcendentalist ," Emerson explains that transcendentalism is "Idealism as it appears in One possible interpretation traced to Ciceroconnects lego read, i.


They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. Margaret Fuller was the daughter of a Massachusetts congressman who provided tutors for her in Latin, Greek, chemistry, philosophy and, later, German. Transcendentalism was designed to fill all of these roles.

Emerson was a Harvard-educated essayist and lecturer and is recognized as our first truly "American" thinker. In his essay "The Over-Soul" Emerson places himself in the middle of the universe: Medieval Japan at first had a similar union between imperial law and universal or Buddha law, but these later became independent sources of power.

He also argued that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known societies. Even with this necessary individuality, transcendentalists also believe that all people are outlets for the " Over-soul. Fromthe group frequently published in their journal The Dialalong with other venues.

Works Cited Cady, Lyman V. It is all connected and it is all one. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry.

Theophilus Parsons, a member of the movement, declared in that Transcendentalism was part of the "universal loosening of all opinion and belief. Worldview Religions have sacred historiesnarrativesand mythologies which may be preserved in sacred scripturesand symbols and holy placesthat aim to explain the meaning of lifethe origin of lifeor the Universe.

In fact, goodness is actually attainable only for a few, but evil is a huge morass into which any can slip. To Thoreau, nature is God and God is nature: Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience—varied in form, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture.

But take "vitalism" one step further: As eco-philosophers and environmentalists, Emerson and Thoreau were cautious of a society embracing these "old age" values where nature was studied and objectified, rather than revered.

When more or less distinct patterns of behavior are built around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. It must be noted though, that Emerson and Thoreau and their fellow Transcendentalists were not atheists.

Samuel Johnson, in his essay "Transcendentalism," analogizes the Transcendental desire for a new vision of nature and a new mode of thought: The writings of the Transcendentalists and those of contemporaries such as Walt WhitmanHerman Melvilleand Nathaniel Hawthornefor whom they prepared the ground, represent the first flowering of the American artistic genius and introduced the American Renaissance in literature see also American literature: Nature now becomes particular: Society encourages, even demands conformity and dependence.

It focuses primarily on personal freedom. Second wave of transcendentalists[ edit ] By the late s, Emerson believed that the movement was dying out, and even more so after the death of Margaret Fuller in In Nature, for example, Emerson writes: The study of the relationship of man to the natural world benefitted from a symbiotic relationship with philosophy.

26f. Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy

2 capitalized: a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism — used with the.

Transcendentalism earned a reputation as a "collection of miscellany" because such variety of thought is built into the definition. Emerson and Thoreau both admonish their audiences to go their own way rather than emulate the authors. Another way to look at the Transcendentalists is to see them as a generation of people struggling to define spirituality and religion (our words, not necessarily theirs) in a way that took into account the new understandings their age made available.

The 19th Century Evolution of Transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson ( - ) is today the most readily recognized propagator and champion of 19th century Transcendentalist thought. Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late s and s in the eastern United States.

It arose as a reaction to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time. The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was of particular interest. Transcendentalism emerged from "English and German Romanticism.

A definition of religion and transcendentalism
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Transcendentalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)