Ralph Waldo Emerson was a key thinker and philosopher of a group known as the American Transcendentalists. He published a book called Nature in 1836 based on his other journals, sermons, and lectures. In this book, his main focus is on how “the universe is composed of nature and the soul.” He defines nature as the essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf. The message he carries out to the readers is in his quote, “to go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.” Emerson declares in this first part of his book, that in order for people to truly understand themselves and seek beauty and freedom in their lives, they must discover nature and fully appreciate it. He includes a second quote, “in the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.” Emerson firmly states what he believes should be carried out by man, but could modern day society fully join and carry out these beliefs?
A documentary was released in 2013 called Tiny, the story of a couple who decided to try living small. A man named Christopher Smith began from scratch in ...
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...here everyone lives in tiny houses clustered together, and eventually cause the extinction of nature to even breathe in, or everyone could follow in McCandless’s footsteps and go out to explore the wild with nothing in mind, nothing in hand just to reach the end to their short lives. Is the transcendentalist movement a particularly reasonable philosophy to follow without completely thinking through of its consequences in modern day world of more rational thinkers and philosophers? Perhaps while the movement was popular in time, these ideas could have truly spoken to people’s hearts. However, it was indeed Emerson who stated in his American Scholar address that man should not depend on past writings and history, but instead on his own thinking, or “Man-Thinking.” Following along transcendentalists thoughts today is definitely not completely “transcendentalist” at all.
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