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jessica gillen

on 23 April 2014

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Transcript of Transcendentalism

What do you think?
advantages - disadvantages
Transcendentalism: A Philosophy
Three Basic Premises
An intellectual movement, focusing on improving the individual as a means of finding deeper spiritual value in the self, as a part of the natural world.
There is an ideal spiritual state which transcends the physical body.
The natural world has the power to open the mind, if the individual will live as one with it.
No institution is more powerful than the INDIVIDUAL.
How is this photo representative of transcendentalsim?
How did it start?
Began with the struggles of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
-When his wife died, the grieving pastor questioned his beliefs: religions and scholars downplayed the importance of the individual. During the Industrial Revolution, it seemed that individuals did not matter.
Human mind=most important force in the universe.
He resigned and traveled to visit great philosophers.
Transcendentalist's Beliefs
The movement was a ripple in history-lasted a mere ten years and only produced two books: Emerson's Nature and Throreau's Walden
"The individual is the world" -- a radical thought in an age that gave all authority to government, religion, & education.
The intuitive faculty, instead of the rational, became the means for a conscious union of the individual psyche with the world psyche.
The world psyche= The Over-Soul
-Every soul and all of nature was part of the Over-Soul, a universal spirit.
"...believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind and new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy." -Emerson
The Individual Choice
The belief that individual virtue and happiness depend upon self-realization.
-This depends upon the reconciliation of two universal psychological tendencies:
1. The desire to embrace the whole world--to know and become one with the world.
2. The desire to withdraw, remain unique and separate.
Premise #1
Human senses are limited; they convey knowledge of the physical world, but deeper truths can be ascertained through intuition and spirituality.

God, nature, and humanity share a universal 'Over-Soul'.
Premise #2
The structure of the universe literally duplicates the structure of the individual self; all knowledge, therefore, begins with self-knowledge.
Premise #3
The observation of nature illuminates the nature of human beings.
The true individual is not part of society's conformities, the true individual gravitates toward finding the self.
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