Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

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Ralph Waldo Emerson “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson in his book Self Reliance. Emerson was explaining that not everyone is going to conform to society, and the ones who don’t are often the ones who make a difference in the world. Emerson’s view on morality and education are a reflection his transcendentalist worldview. Emerson had many beliefs about how a person should live. His worldview affected those beliefs and was showed through his works and his lifestyle. Although his family was Unitarian, Emerson had a different view on life and religion. Ralf Waldo Emerson was born into a family of Unitarian ministers in 1803. His family did not expect much from him because he was a middle child who suffered the loss of his father when he was eight years old. Emerson’s viewpoint and morals were different than most, and concluded that a person’s prioritized virtues are all “initial.” He said that their beliefs are not consistent. He believed in finding “a certain brief experience” that cannot be relived. He also believed that someone could only search for God in the present, “God is, not was.” (Goodman, 4-5) He believed people have to leave their virtues behind, and instead find their morality in the “new moment” even if before those new virtues were once thought of as “trivial” or “vain.” (Goodman, 5). Emerson’s beliefs about education were also very different from most. He said that the secret regarding someone’s education “lies in respecting the pupil,” and that a student should learn for himself, and should... ... middle of paper ... ...iduality that Emerson believed in. The club held a belief for human nature over church’s teachings. The group shared their thoughts and inspirations with each other. (Mannion 1). Most Transcendentalists, like Emerson, became active in social reform movements, such as anti-slavery, abolitionism, women’s rights, and so on. They believe all people have access to the Oversoul, and by becoming “one” with nature one can live freely. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a great transcendentalist writer who had a very distinct belief system about morality and life. He had grown up in a minister’s home but decided for himself what he really believed. His viewpoint on morality and education was very defined, and he became a leading inspiration for the transcendentalist movement. Emerson’s beliefs and viewpoints about religion and life can be seen clearly through his writings and works.
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