The Transcendentalism Movement : The Transcendentalist Movement

1237 Words Oct 31st, 2014 5 Pages
The early nineteenth century gave way to the rise of many political and religious movements. The transcendentalist movement fits clearly into this category. Centered around individualism, self-reliance, and nature it derives many of its core beliefs from unitarianism. This new way of viewing the human condition was spurred and explored by people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman. However ideas such as the value of simplicity and illusion of progress, that were spawned by this movement, are not just mere productions of the time period. Rather these ideas can still be applied to modern life. The first of the ideas found in the transcendentalism movement that can be applied to the modern world is the value of simplicity. The value in simplicity that Thoreau argues is summarized when he states, “To be awake is to be alive”(Walden). This encapsulates Thoreau’s point in that just the mere fact that one is able to be awake and in conscious is enough to state one’s status as alive. A man does not all of the things he says and that is where we confuse one’s desire with the things that he needs simply to be alive. This is supported when Thoreau argues that he sees, “ young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of” (Walden). Thoreau says this to show the value of simplicity where the things that one thinks they need to…

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