Emerson: Nature vs. Religion

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Unitarianism Pages: 3 (1023 words) Published: May 1, 2011
Emerson: Nature vs. Religion

Ralph Waldo Emerson asks the question, “Why should we grope among the dry bones of the past.” He begins his book by discussing how age affects thought and asks the question of why we, as adults, have to go by tradition and stories that have previously been told instead of making our own history and “enjoy an original relation to the universe?” (Nature) Emerson’s use of insight in “Nature” demonstrates his view of the meaning in nature and who can truly see the meaning within it (Nature).

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803. He died at the age of seventy-eight in 1882, due to a diagnosis of pneumonia. When Emerson became a scholar his life became extremely conventional and almost repetitive. He is said to have always worn a black suit and would not tolerate certain subjects to be talked about while in his presence (Schulman). He did not like when other individuals laughed too loudly around him and did not like people gossiping around him or talking about love. He also would not tolerate others to talk about death in relation to humor or mocking in any way. Emerson seems to be a stern and Likes 2

stubborn individual yet is said to have had a good sense of humor and was loved by both family and friends (Schulman). Emerson is also known for his speeches given during the times of the Civil War. He was notorious for being against slavery yet did not want the attention or to be in the spotlight for any lectures. Even with his awareness and refusal to be in the limelight he agreed to multiple speeches and lectures in numerous states across the country. It is also known that he was a supporter of Abraham Lincoln and voted for him. Emerson clarified that his belief was in immediate emancipation of slavery.

Emerson seems to have been an extremely curious and interested individual. He experimented with many different ways in which to live. His curiosity brought him to try vegetarianism which did not...

Cited: Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Oregon State University. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/emerson/nature-emerson-a.html>.
Schulman, Frank. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography. Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, 1999. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. <http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/ralphwaldoemerson.html>.
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