Transcendentalist Theories & Beliefs: Emerson, Thoreau & Their Relevance Today

Categories: Ralph Waldo Emerson
About this essay

In the world of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “nothing is more simple than greatness, to be simple is to be great”. Emerson believed in simplifying life, he believed that the less possessions a person had the less they had to worry about. He developed a new and creative way of philosophy titled transcendentalism. Transcendentalism dealt with finding joy in nature, simplicity, and individualism.

Simplicity is the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded. Simplifying life cuts back on stress and worries. What’s the point in owning 50 pairs of shoes, when all that is really needed is 1 good pair that can be worn every day? Simplifying life cuts back on unnecessary items, there fore cutting back on stress.

Today people are more materialistic then ever. They need everything and will buy anything. People forget that man makes possessions, possessions don’t make the man.

To be an individual means to strike off on ones own path. To not follow in the footsteps of others, there’s no fun in doing what everybody else does.

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Transcendentalism urges people to take their destiny by the hand and follow it wherever it should lead them, for they will receive true enlightenment and fulfillment in life. If everybody just did the same thing the world would be a very boring place, everyone was created different for a reason. Emerson and Thoreau lived in a very traditional sort of society, however, the times have changed. Today so much more is accepted people are no longer afraid to be individuals.

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If a person wants to dye their hair pink, pierce their face 17 times and get 45 tattoos, nobody really cares. Now day’s people can express their individual personalities without fear.

Thoreau felt that a man could only really find himself by looking to nature, and the great outdoors. For a year he actually moved out into the middle of the woods just to be at peace with himself and live off the land. However that would be kind of difficult to do these days unless one already owns the land, and pays taxes. In recent times people still love nature, they love to get away to the great outdoors for a weekend of camping, or fishing, or a day at the beach.

In conclusion, transcendentalism is a very unique and different way of thinking. Yet it is still the way human beings naturally act, they love nature, and they are all created as individuals. People, however, are somewhat greedy and materialistic by nature, they have basic needs. This way of thinking is very awe-inspiring and hopefully will not disappear anytime soon.

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Transcendentalist Theories & Beliefs: Emerson, Thoreau & Their Relevance Today. (2021, Jun 07). Retrieved from

Transcendentalist Theories & Beliefs: Emerson, Thoreau & Their Relevance Today

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