Emerson's Philosophy Of Transcendentalism By Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Ralph Waldo Emerson writes: “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all man, -that is genius (Emerson 439)”. This powerful quote is an expert taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s literary piece called Self-Reliance. The quote stands as a powerful example of the belief system behind the movement Transcendentalism. . Ralph Waldo Emerson was just one of the most famous literary members that spearheaded this powerful club called the transcendentalist club. Famous literary writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickson, just to name a few, joined along side Emerson in changing the worlds views on nonconformity and the idea of thinking apart from the intuition. Transcendentalism was …show more content…
In Emerson’s essay about self-reliance he passionately urges man to turn away from the thoughts of society. Emerging from a puritan society that fully and willingly enabled the church institution to think for its members, Emerson bluntly resisted this practice. Most preachers today might believe Emerson to be anti-Christian. However, Emerson and Thoreau shed light on valuable points of reasoning. Reasoning that I neither agree nor disagree with and believe that self-reliance can be both positive and negative depending on the use of it. The central idea of self-reliance itself could be quite powerful if used for the right reasons. A few examples of how self-reliance could have been used to create a positive change could have been the Salem Witch Trials and the Nazi genocide upon the Jews. Through out history and as in these examples, we see man himself following heinous and despicable orders in order to conform to the institution. Would these tragic cases in history be much different had the idea of self-reliance taken place? How many lives would have been spared had the thousands of Germans looked inside themselves for the answers and not to Hitler and the Government for orders? The answer to this question is yes. Having myself been raised in a religious institution that controlled my every move, I fully and proudly chose to not conform. Looking inside myself I chose self-reliance to decide for the future what was right. We cannot totally deny or refuse to respect the idea of institution but we must listen to our own instincts. We must use the idea of self-reliance to decide the difference between right and wrong. Emerson was profoundly right to encourage man to look inside himself for the answers to right and wrong. Most transcendentalists supported anti-slavery movements and woman rights. When we evaluate the reasons for this support we can come to

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