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The 6 Tenets of Transcendentalism
Transcript of The 6 Tenets of Transcendentalism
An example of Self-Reliance is Henry David Thoreau.
"In most books, the I, of first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference."
- Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau advocated for all of the basic tenets of transcendentalism, but his writings and his life highlighted Self-Reliance specifically. Thoreau was so devoted to following his values regarding Self-Reliance that he abandoned society for the sake of an experiment in which he lived in the forest near Walden pond for a year. During this experiment he was completely self-reliant. By the end of it, he concluded that reliance upon your self in both a philosophical sense and a physical sense is necessary for a happy existence.
The example for this tenet is Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, just as Thoreau, stood for all of the basic tenets of transcendentalism, but his philosophy heavily relies on confidence in an individuals cognitive ability or intuition. Emerson thought that belief was a greater force than reason because of the individuals commitment to an idea they believe in rather than one they deduced. This requires a nearly fallible amount of faith and confidence in that faith, which Emerson says is gained through relying upon yourself entirely for perceiving reality.
#4 Civil Disobedience
An excellent example of Civil Disobedience is Mahatma Gandhi.
“That we should obey laws whether good or bad is a new-fangled notion. There was no such thing in former days. The people disregarded those laws they did not like and suffered the penalties for their breach.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi also held to a plethora of ideals that could be considered transcendentalist in nature, although he had no direct connection to the movement itself. He peacefully protested the industrialization of India, destruction of the environment, and social injustice for the majority of his life. Many would argue that Gandhi popularized the concept of civil disobedience.
#5 Importance of Nature
An example of this tenet is Albert Einstein.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
- Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein gained an incredible respect of nature and the universe through science. He considered the universe to be its own god and found beauty in it. He was a devout vegan, used his academic influence to benefit the environment, and generally emphasized the importance of the universe and the ambiguity of our place within it.
An example of Non-Conformity from popular culture/history is Edgar Allan Poe.
"From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw."
- Edgar Allan Poe
Poe expressed his distrust in the values of society through his writing. He emphasized the concept of innate evil within humanity and the solution he chose to pursue was to distance himself from the rest of society and the values it stood for at the time of his life.
#6 Simplify Life
An example is the greek philosopher Epicurus.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”
Epicurus believed that the pleasure is the absence of pain. Therefore, he thought that through eliminating anything in one's life that could be considered a stressor or could incite pain he would, by default, achieve happiness. He pursued this in his own life through living, isolated from society, with his philosopher friends spending all day talking of what they considered intellectual endeavors.
By Foster Lingle