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Transcript of God
The Importance of God
God is a major part of Transcendentalists' lives. Most transcendentalist do not go to church, because like society, churches have rules, and transcendentalist feel that they are born pure. In addition, they do not need others to tell them what they should believe.
The Importance of Society
Society at this time was a cruel unjust place that played by its own rules. Civilians avoided society because it affected their ability to "transcend" or go beyond. There were many citizens against society in this period. Two of the biggest writers facing society during this time were Henry David Thoreau and Ralph W. Emerson.
When people do the same thing everyday they are not giving themselves a chance to shine and they are not showing others how great they can be. Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated, "With consistency a great soul has nothing to do". The famous transcendentalist believes that without change humans will have boring hopeless lives. Emerson calls these people who are unwilling to change, "the hobgoblin of little minds." Emerson was stating that the little minded people are too afraid to speak out and do what they think is right.
The Importance of Nature
During the transcendentalist time period everyone loved nature, not only transcendentalist but also former president Theodore Roosevelt. Transcendentalist looked at nature as a way to get away from the pressures of the world and just be themselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous transcendentalist, felt the same as Thoreau when he said, "But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things". In saying this, Emerson explained that being in nature calms you and separates you from the pressures of society.
Civil Duties vs Civil Disobedience
American citizens were frustrated and avert towards society during the Transcendentalism period. Many Americans were not friendly to the US government. Many of society's supporters consisted of government officials and humans afraid to revolt. Theodore Roosevelt, a influential American headline during this period had his pros and cons for society. Roosevelt believes that, "I do not think that any man should let himself regard his political career as a means of livelihood, or as his sole occupation in life; for if he does he immediately becomes most seriously handicapped." Roosevelt states that government officials should stop being hostile and not let politics consume their lives.
Applebee, Arthur N. "Henry David Thoreau." The Language of Literature. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2002. 370. Print.
Roosevelt, Theodore. "Duties of American Citizenship" Buffalo, New York: 1883. Print.
Inc, Goodreads. "Nature Quotes." By Ralph Waldo Emerson. N.p., 2014. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. web.
Importance of Nature continued
Henry David Thoreau explained how he, another famous transcendentalist, felt about nature when he said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." By saying this, Thoreau described that you can not truly live until you see the wonders of nature and how "resign[ing] yourself to the influence of the Earth" can change your life.
Transcendentalist praise and learn about God in nature away from the influences of others. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship". He explains that worshiping in a place away from outside pressures helps people and God to have a stronger relationship.
Importance of God continued
Importance of Society continued
Thoreau showed his dissatisfaction of society by going to war with Mexico to expand its own borders. He stated, "government is best which governs not at all." Citizens in the US at this time believed that the government had not been great since the birth of America. Ralph W. Emerson took it upon his writing to express how society was negative and brutal to its citizens. Emerson proclaimed, "There are other measures of self-respect for a man, than the number of clean shirts he puts on every day." The famous American vigilante stated how society affected human materialism and you can not live the best of two worlds.
Emerson at this time believes Americans should be more independent but still remember the ethics of society to an extent. He states, "We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents". Emerson expresses how during the transcendentalism time period, half of the population were self-reliant and were ashamed to have to go against society's rules.
Many Americans resist change at this time, because they feared how society would respond. "Else if you would be a man, speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts every thing you said today" (Emerson). When you decide to stop being consistent in your daily life your opinions and the way you look at things change daily. You see things from a new point of view.