preview

Emerson Transcend Conformity

Satisfactory Essays
Haley Hicks
Howerter
ENGWR 300
16 December 2013
Emerson: Transcend Conformity
Transcendentalism; most people are unfamiliar with this term but not the ideas behind it. A religious deviation that started in the 1820’s caused one of the most influential movements in history. The after effects would be seen in the beliefs of those who fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and abolition; anytime a rebellion rears its head, there tends to be some distinctly transcendentalist ideas and mindsets found fueling the individualist fires of change. Transcendentalism and its various principles changed the face of the world and the way people thought by challenging the majority and scorning conformity. They challenged people to be individuals; to look inward for the truth and make their own happiness. Those that were a part of this movement also spoke out against figures of authority when it was believed they acted against the common good. There was a vague optimism and stubborn refusal to accept any truth but the ones found to be true to the individual that was characteristic of its supporters. In a world that seems to be constantly telling its inhabitants what we should think, it is important to remember that we are each still our own person and how we live our lives is up to us. The movement was not without its critics and opposition, but the lasting effects of the philosophical ideals stood the test of time and continue to change people for the better.
While there were many great thinkers, writers and leaders of this movement, the one that many consider to be the father of the movement is Ralph Waldo Emerson. His humble nature made him reluctant to take such a title, and he was not the creator of transcendentalism, but his influence on ...

... middle of paper ...

...eveloping an acid tongue.” Men who isolate themselves not only deprive themselves of friendship and love, but also make themselves unfit for marriage. Society isn't always achieved easily, but by "chemical affinity" and even then "in very small doses." Striking a balance between solitude and society is difficult because "solitude is impracticable, and society fatal." (Society and Solitude) But this Thinking is not solely his own; Socrates once said, “To find yourself, think for yourself.”
In one of his most influential works, Self-Reliance Emerson once said that “It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. (Self-Reliance)”
"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." - H.D. Thoreau
Get Access