Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And His Transcendental Idea

2140 words - 9 pages

It is free will which keeps man away from being a slave of others. Once a man has free will, he can make decisions on himself, thus he is not belonged to anybody else but himself. Transcendentalists value that free will. This free will makes man unique, and no authority can control the man. Transcendentalists expected the people make their own decisions based on conscience instead of what the authority is saying. A great transcendentalist, Emerson, expressed this idea in his essay Self-Reliance. In his essay, Emerson asked people to seek the truth from themselves instead of somebody else. Emerson supported that idea with the examples of great masters such as Newton, Washington, and Bacon. These great masters did not find truth from somebody else but themselves. Nobody taught them, therefore they taught themselves. Transcendentalists also believe in action. According to Transcendentalism, everything in this universe is connected to each other. One’s action is going to affect one another. One’s inaction is also affecting one another. If an injustice is going on, one cannot excuse himself from not acting to justify the injustice. Not acting to correct injustice is an act to participate injustice. Another great transcendentalist, Thoreau, used himself as an example of this idea. Thoreau is opposed to the Mexican war and slavery, because he thought those are injustice done by the government. While he strived to correct those injustices by refusing to pay taxes, his neighbors did nothing although they recognize those injustices. The neighbors would argue since they are neither joining the army nor keeping the slaves, so they are not participating the injustice. Thoreau would not agree with that statement. According to Thoreau, one can only excuse himself from participating injustice if he is acting against the injustice. Thoreau’s transcendental idea noted the necessity to correct the injustice, for everything is connected to each other. Emerson’s transcendental idea taught people how to correct the injustice. A great civil rights movement leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is well influenced by Thoreau and Emerson. Dr. King’s mission is to draw people’s attention to the injustice of slavery and prompt people to actively fight against this injustice. With the help of the two great transcendentalists, Dr. King made an impact on Americans, taught the public why they should care the civil rights movement, and told the public how to support civil rights movement.
Before correcting an injustice, one has to know why he should works on the injustice. One of the transcendental themes, the unity among all things, answers this question. Transcendentalists believe all things are connected together, and everything interacts with each other. Transcendentalists would not accept indifferent attitude since the ignorance on one another is actually an ignorance on oneself. Thus a transcendentalist would not ignore injustice, but he will put in effort to correct the...

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