Ideas - Religion
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a writer, thinker and philosopher who where he befriended Henry David Thoreau and kept company with the. Keywords: transcendentalism, nature, over-soul, Emerson, Thoreau. 1. According to transcendentalists, a direct relationship with God and. Spiritualism to Emerson is the consciousness of God and not the concept given by religion. According to The introduction brings out the relationship between his life and works. .. Emerson was influenced by the Thoreau's ideas and he.
America's Founding Spiritual Seeker
It began to manifest itself in Emerson, just as he began his ministerial studies at Harvard, in a period of severely impaired vision. By the time he began writing and delivering his first sermons inhis condition was worsening so much that he traveled south to Florida. While the sea air and warmer climate no doubt contributed to Emerson's gradual recovery, it seems probable that the release from the immediate stress of studying for the ministry was also therapeutic.
Emerson returned in the early summer of a stronger and more confident man. Within a year and a half he had become engaged to Ellen Tucker, and had begun to preach at Boston's Second Church, which would ordain him on March 11, Emerson's moment of settled happiness would be short. Ellen, also a victim of tuberculosis, died in February Her death seems to have weakened the foundations of the life he had constructed for himself, contributing to his resignation from the ministry in Emerson had already entertained serious questions about the claims of Christianity during his ministry, and about whether he could fulfill his intellectual ambitions there.
But Ellen's death seems to have forced Emerson "to live his own life and think his own thoughts. He returned in the fall of to begin the most intellectually productive period of his life, establishing himself within a decade as one of America's most innovative and influential thinkers. Although it is tempting to see his resignation from the ministry and sojourn in Europe as a break in his career, it is more instructive to recognize the continuities that bound his earlier ministry with his new pursuits as an independent lecturer and author.
Emerson continued to preach and maintain his clerical identity for several years as he developed a following for his lectures. More important, he began to develop the philosophical vision that had informed his preaching. His message was to cultivate an inwardness that would keep his listeners in touch with their inherent divinity.
He linked this inwardness with faith.
Charles Dickens said, "I was given to understand that whatever was unintelligible would certainly be Transcendental". But take "vitalism" one step further: The universe is one great entity, "composed of Nature and the Soul;" Nature is the symbol of the spirit Nature.
Transcendentalism earned a reputation as a "collection of miscellany" because such variety of thought is built into the definition.
Summary and Analysis
Emerson and Thoreau both admonish their audiences to go their own way rather than emulate the authors. Emerson declared he wanted no followers; it would disappoint him if his ideas created hangers-on rather than "independence;" he would then doubt his own theories and fear he was guilty of some "impurity of insight. Emerson, and others, believed in what he called the Oversoul Walt Whitman called it the "float".
The divine "spark" within, and connecting, all facets of nature, including humankind, makes up the Oversoul. One's own "spark," and connection, can be discovered not through logical reasoning but only through intuition: The 19th century Transcendentalists called for an independence from organized religion; they saw no need for any intercession in the relationship between God and the individual man.
Divinity is self-contained, internalized in all beings. Transcendentalism gives credence to the unlimited potential of human ability to connect with both the natural and spiritual world. Transcendentalists were idealistic and optimistic because they believed they could find answers to whatever they were seeking. As Emerson says, when they learn to translate, through intuition, the external symbols of nature, they can read the underlying spiritual facts: Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.
We must trust the perfection of the creation so far as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy.
Every man's condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put.
- Thoreau, Emerson, and Transcendentalism
He acts is as life, before he apprehends it as truth. In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design.
Transcendentalism declared meaning in everything, and all meaning was good, part of and connected by divine plan.
Emerson refuted evil, insisting it was not an entity in itself, but simply the absence of good. If good is introduced, evil dissipates.
301 Moved Permanently
One ray of light penetrates darkness. According to the Transcendentalists, everyone has the power to "transcend" the apparent confusion and chaos of the world and see order in nature's design. All on earth have the divine "spark" within and thus all are part of the whole.LITERATURE - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This philosophy led to an optimistic emphasis on individualism and the value of the individual over society.