Transcendentalism A Glimpse into the World of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau
Background • German philosopher IMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804) coined the term “transcendentalism.” • Transcendentalism was a movement that began around 1840. • Individualism • Intuition • Nature • Self-Reliance
Philosophy • There is a direct connection or “correspondence” between the universe and the individual’s soul. • By contemplating objects in nature, people can transcend the world and discover union with the OVER-SOUL (a.k.a. the TAO, IDEAL, or SUPREME MIND). • Follow your own intuition and own beliefs, however divergent from the social norm they may be. Since all people are inherently good, the individual’s intuitive response to any given situation will be the right thing to do.