The Value Of Individualism In Thoreau's Transcendentalism

1282 Words 6 Pages
Transcendentalism has a rich history as a very spiritual movement, bringing much satisfaction to those who follow its values. Ralph Waldo Emerson sparked the transcendental movement in the early 19th century, most notably in his famous essay “The American Scholar” (U.S. History). People who practice transcendentalism hold the rather simple belief that beyond their five senses that let them experience the physical world, deep reflection, among other things allow them to “transcend” to a more fulfilled life. There are six man values critical to the transcendental experience: closeness to nature, dignity of manual labor, spiritual living, relationship with the over soul, divinity of mankind and Individualism. In today’s world, it is a popular …show more content…
Simply going on a walk, disconnected from the world can bring a multitude of benefits for the average person. Thoreau writes about Nature in “Ktaadn” “It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet earth, as it were made forever and ever- to be the dwelling of man… and man can use it if he can”(Thoreau in krakauer’s Into the Wild). The often-ineffable natural beauty of the world as explained by Thoreau is an excellent first step into the transcendental experience for the average person. Nature is an easy sales pitch for transcendentalism and its simplicity is a catalyst to the transcendental experience. People in the modern world are positioned to easily reap benefits to their lives simply by experiencing nature in a raw, unaltered …show more content…
Spiritual living principally has time constraints, as in order to do any type of deep reflection time is needed. Spiritual living will not just happen with the investment of an hour but it will take time over weeks and months, which is a commitment many cannot make with time they do not have. In addition conflicts with religious values and commitments would occur in a similar fashion as with the connection with the over soul. The fundamental problem with promoting individualism in today’s society is that it is already so prevalent it can be attributed to many of the day’s most treacherous issues. If anything should be promoted it should be the opposite of individualism; community and togetherness should take the upper hand. Deresiewicz writes a great deal about problems in modern society and in his piece “The End of Solitude” he writes “What technology and transportation exacerbated- we could live farther and farther apart… a universal threat of loneliness” (Deresiewicz). This threat of loneliness is exactly what individualism promotes in society along with personal greed and lack of empathy for others, none of which are healthy to advocate

Related Documents

Related Topics