Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

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ranscendentalism is a collection of eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform and the general state of American culture. It was an American literary and political group wherein their views acted as a protest against the accepted status of intellectualism and spirituality at that period..The tenets of Transcendentalism would be non-conformity, self-reliance, individualism, nature and simplified life. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two of the most famous and influential transcendentalists. The ideals of Emerson and Thoreau seemed to be connected with the actions of the famous beatle, John Lennon.
Having been a part of the most famous band, The Beatles, one cannot question the influence that his music
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His lyrics went deeper and evolve to seeking peace. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” ( Nature, 1836, p. 2). Both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau seeks this relation in solitude in their nature of writing. These two great and most influential transcendentalists had experimented in their writings to create social awareness in the 1840's. By the 1850's, they had become an open critique of American Slavery. Skepticism about religion was also a sensitive topic they were not afraid to tackle. That the Bible was merely a product of the human history and culture created by the elites to control the masses. In 1836, Emerson asked in the first paragraph of Nature: “Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs” (Nature, 1836, p. 2). These are the same ideas that are present in Lennon's lyrics. In the song "Imagine", he is basically asking people to set aside cultural beliefs and think logically for a minute by asking themselves to imagine what if there were no countries, religion, or possessions. Not being bound by tradition but by logic, a religion not by history is what teaching us but with enlightenment. Thoreau once said, " we are so wrapped up in material things that it is hard to even imagine life without them, though life would be more peaceful if we didn't have them." This is the same sentiment Lennon had when he wrote the lyrics, " Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man, Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world." ( John Lennon. Imagine. EMI Records, 1971). Although these three great men know that they must be probably be dreaming with all their transcendentalist ideas being against what is socially accepted that is right, I think

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