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Ralph Waldo Emerson strongly believed in self-reliance. Why? What problems did he have with individuals relying too much upon others (as the commune Transcendentalists argued for)? Emerson strongly believed in self-reliance because it, “to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men”. For Emerson self-reliance is more of a way to be able to maintain the change within religion, pursuits, and education. Emerson’s problems with individuals replying to much upon others were when he realized that his self-reliance isn’t what he thought it would be ever since he lost his son, “…he had good reason to question whether ‘compensation’ really kept things on cosmic balance”.
People were questioning Emerson’s use to self-reliance, but he later states that to be able to understand it there was to be, “patience and patience”.
Emerson’s critics, many of whom were fellow Transcendentalists, argued against his notions of self-reliance. In fact, they went as far as labeling Emerson’s teaching as “egotheism”.
What is egotheism, and why did other Transcendentalists ﬁnd it disturbing? Egotheism meaning is that it shows interest in one individual only, to be more self-reliant. Other Transcendentalist found it disturbing because, “The problem with viewing the world as Emerson did was that people ‘deified their own conceptions; that is, they say that their conception of God is all that men can ever know of God”. Peabody was the one who describes Emerson’s use of self-reliance to be quite disappointing to her.
Another was Henry James Sr who said that with the criticism it was a, “selfhood imposed on us by the evil world,’ a project in which some Transcendentalist were undeniably complicit”. With the criticism that Emerson’s self-reliance was receiving Emerson was able to have Transcendentalist who were Alcott and Fuller to be on his side in his program of self-culture.
The branch of Transcendentalism that desired less self-reliance and more social reform found their new champion in 1847 in the form of Theodore Parker. What was some of Parker’s charge to his fellow Christians and/ or transcendentalists? Parker’s charge to his fellow Christians and Transcendentalist is that Parker was, “… influenced by Schleiermacher’s sense of man’s cosmic dependence”. For Parker God was someone that humanity needed to be able to become a whole altogether. Believing in having a more social reform, Parker had lost many of his followers and friends as well. Peabody was one of his admirers who liked the way he was able to inspire her, but when she presented him to other Transcendentalist, she became a bit disappointed that others couldn’t see Parker’s that way she did.
Margaret Fuller, originally a close follower of Emerson and his ideas on self-reliance and self-reform, began to make a shift towards social reform in the mid-1840s. What were three areas of social concern that Fuller began to focus on? Also, what was her interest with and/ or in Europe during the mid- to late-1840s? Fuller began to focus on women rights, slavery, and the city institutions within the indigent, “Her engagements with these topics marked an important transition in her career”. Fuller’s focus within the three had led her to become a huge impact within Transcendentalism. Fuller was interested in Europe during the 1840’s was because, “… she jumped at the chance, eager to finally visit the Continent and to see how other nations welcomed freedom, equality, and brotherhood”. Fuller took the opportunity to be able to go to Europe had gained her to known and meet people such as Giuseppe Mazzini who was able to get into Fuller’s mind with his understanding with nationhood. Being in Europe Fuller had said, “Had I only come ten years earlier “. Showing that staying in Europe had led her to be more motived on not to fail.
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