English 3 honors
26 February 2014
Strengths and Weaknesses of Transcendentalism with Society
Many people have theories and philosophies about life in general. There have been thousands of books by many different people in the past and present, transcendentalism falls amongst all of these ideas. Great philosophers and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two of many that established the mindset that taught people that our spirits have deep connection with nature and that our ideas transcend the natural world as we see it. Both Emerson and Thoreau emphasized greatly on forming decisions without the input of others as well as being able to do what one enjoy rather than fitting in with conformity just to be accepted by society. People who practice Transcendentalism occasionally separate themselves from the world and get in touch with nature to be at peace with themselves. But traditional society was not too fond with the idea of people being transcendentalist, the ideas of nonconformity and free thought was intolerable to the fabricated social order of society. Though the general idea of transcendentalism has its strengths and could very well be practiced and a wonderful philosophy to live out, there are some weaknesses to the consequences of the actions some may do in order to do what they believe in. With a traditional conform culture, believing and practicing the acts of transcendentalism often caused trouble to the liberals who believed in individualism.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were transcendentalists, both believed in nonconformity, and the strengths of the individual. While Emerson was more of a philosopher with his writings, Thoreau actually practice the works of being transcendentalist and made it a large part of his life. Nonetheless, both perspectives were strongly similar as believing transcendentalist people must think for themselves with their own mind and trust their own decision with confident. In Thoreau's quote “Men generally, under such a government at this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil” (Thoreau) he states people make their decisions based on what other think. Thoreau was against the traditional values of the people if it does not makes oneself happy or satisfied. Just like Thoreau, Emerson also believed the act of individualism in one of his most popular statement helps explain his belief, " To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."(Emerson) From his passage Self-Reliance Emerson also states to his readers keeping your own mind and ideas is the most powerful to you " Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world." Emerson and Thoreau take action on their belief, which not all of them are legal, but they take responsibility of their actions. They focus on the strength of individualism and are firm believers in the fact that people should not believe things simply because someone tell them too.
"The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself" (Rita Mae Brown) the benefits of someone believing in transcendentalism is usually they stand up against what's wrong in society. There are many strong qualities when it comes to a transcendentalist interacting with society. For one they have a lot of confidence in oneself and doesn't question their own moral. Since the start of transcendentalism the thought of what many people found okay began to question our government and believe in social reform. Even if people didn't practice transcendentalism as time passes by through the years, the philosophy of being transcendentalist began influencing many people around the world. Not only did people began writing about their opinions...
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