9 February 2012
Many people say that an individual is not the center of the universe, but for Transcendentalist believers they thought the complete opposite. In the 1830's and 1840's a group of writers, artists, and reformers flourished with the start of the struggles of a man named Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson inspired many young writers such as Henry David Thoreau and many other who chose to follow the transcendental beliefs, including “Alexander Supertramp”. Transcendentalist believed that political and religious institution were not as important or powerful as the individual. They believed that everyone is connected to a greater power who we would later return to after death. Society today is structured where an individual who believes or acts differently is seen as an outcast; to avoid negative outcomes some people see no other option but to fall victim to the conformity, others refuse to abide by the societies “ideals”. According to the Transcendental theories of Emerson, Thoreau and Chris McCandless, people must rebel and turn away from societies beliefs in order to seize the day and make the most of life, but while doing so they must also accept the consequences that come from their actions. Ralph Waldo Emerson, also know as the Father of Transcendentalism, wrestled with his beliefs being a Boston pastor and a strong believer in Transcendentalism. He strongly believed “to be great is to be misunderstood” ( Self-reliance). Many people are seen as different because of the way they act, however, to them they are following what they believe in. In Emerson's famous book, Nature, he shows that the peacefulness of nature can ease any troubles caused by the surrounding aggressiveness of conformity. For instance, when Emerson is surrounded by nature he explains whole-heartily, “ I feel that nothing can befall me in life- no disgrace, no calamity, which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground...all mean egotism...
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