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Transcendentalism Essay

1444 words - 6 pages

Transcendentalism
There are a lucky few in life that can simply speak their thoughts and captivate the mind. Many people, at the same point in time, stopped to ponder the same idea; Transcendentalism. Thanks to its in-depth philosophies Transcendentalism was a movement that affected mystics, writers, philosophers, and scientists such as Emanuel Swedenborg, and influenced literature, politics, and society even to this day.
The transcendentalism movement elicited ideas and ways of life that transcendentalists believed all should follow. This happened in the late 1700’s and the 1800’s with Immanuel Kant being the chief influence. (“Transcendentalism” n.pag). The movement peaked in the 40’s and began among Unitarians in New England. (“Transcendentalism” n.pag.). Although it might seem like it, these ideas were not a religion they were simply a way of life and a way of understanding relationships. (“Transcendentalism…Philosophy” n.pag). Transcendentalists had some basic beliefs, but there were no set ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ to being a transcendentalist. Simply put, they believed that in order to achieve a higher level of spirituality, a person had to reject the life style of a conforming and materialistic society. The physical world was only learned through using senses and understanding. (“Transcendentalism” n.pag). They also thought that all people were basically good and, if given the opportunity, would make the right choices. (Naumann n.pag). An imperative factor to transcendentalists was nature. The main idea was that the closest thing to God is nature and that by contemplating it one could attain a higher level of spirituality and come closer to God. (Naumann n.pag). This leads to the real world which isn’t the physical world of expectations and materials. The ‘real’ world is one of spirituality and is one where all people confidently rely on themselves and their own ideas and beliefs, which aren’t prejudiced by anyone else’s proclivities or views. This is precisely why transcendentalists felt that there is no need for the church because it, as well as society, prevents people from reaching this higher level and transcending into the ‘real’ world. They also believed that the government is unnecessary. The idea was that relying on yourself rather than being dependent on materials or money or others was how it was meant to be. Transcendentalists questioned tradition and urged others to do the same. They felt that the past wasn’t important and that old doctrines shouldn’t be dwelled on and what was really imperative was the present and the experiences of it. Also, true feelings and intuition were to be developed freely because they were greater than book knowledge, so transcendentalists trusted all people to do ‘good ’ despite having any knowledge, money, or high status. (Naumann n.pag). The whole transcendental movement was highly swayed by many, especially by Swedenborg.
Swedenborg, noted scientist and philosopher, lived from 1688...

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