Transcendentalism is the power to be an individual. Thoreau once said “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” In this he meant that the individual didn’t need superfluities in order to happy or be one’s true self. In today’s society, this philosophy is not evident. When looking to the world around him, the individual constantly has things thrust at him telling him what he has to believe in to be liked, and what he has to look like to be accepted, and what he “needs” to be “happy”. What the individual truly needs is the ability to be an individual, the ability to be transcendental. Transcendentalism should be applied to aspects of everyday life.
The ability to be independent is a driving force in the world. Self-empowerment of the individual is critical in today’s society. “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” (Emerson). Society conspires to make one like the masses and takes away one’s ability to be independent. An individual should not give into things like media to tell them how to live and live life on his own terms. One’s belief in self allows the empowerment of the individual. “Speak what you think in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you day today.” (Emerson). If one thinks something he should believe in it even if he believes in something different tomorrow. When one is an individual, he does not have to explain himself to society. The individual must be independent in order to be transcendental. “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” (Emerson). Society tells individuals who to be, but in order to be individuals they must not give in to societal pressures. They must be unique and have their quirks. Humanity must become a society of individuals to progress forward toward a brighter future.
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