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DO NOW: Copy transcendental vocabulary  Transcendentalism—The view that the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our senses,

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Presentation on theme: "DO NOW: Copy transcendental vocabulary  Transcendentalism—The view that the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our senses,"— Presentation transcript:

1 DO NOW: Copy transcendental vocabulary  Transcendentalism—The view that the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our senses, reason, logic, or laws of science. We learn these truths through our intuition, our “Divine Intellect.”  Transcend—Go beyond  Senses, reason, logic, or laws of science— That which enables us to create science and technology and to understand the concrete, the physical world.  Intuition—That which enables us to know the existence of our own souls and their relation to a reality beyond the physical world and to understand the abstract. The faculty of knowing without relying solely on the senses.  Concrete—Having physical, material reality which can be perceived by the senses  Abstract—Not having physical, material reality, not perceivable by the senses  The Oversoul—God; the Universal Being (Emerson’s term)  The Divine Intellect—part of God in each man; intuition; innate understanding of what is right and good; direct line of communication between God and man; the Divine Animal

2 Transcendentalism The view that the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our senses, reason, logic, or laws of science. We learn these truths through our intuition, our “Divine Intellect.”

3 Transcendentalism IS:  Included in the Romantic Era of American writing  A rebirth or Renaissance of intellectual and artistic achievements  A movement that occurred from (Civil War) that made a cultural imprint with American idealism and ethical issues  Where people looked to the “literary man” for guidance

4 Transcendentalism began as a reaction to  economic prosperity, whereby cities and governments had been established.  Social problems that needed to be analyzed following that growth: slavery  Child labor, materialism, political corruption, American expansionism

5 Transcendentalist Beliefs —The spiritual unity of all forms of being with God, Humanity, and Nature all sharing a universal soul, the Oversoul —The inherent goodness (divinity!) of Man and Nature —The value of individualism —The belief that the natural world is symbolic of the spirit world —The “Lemon Pie” theory (to know the part is to know the whole) —That Society is the source of corruptive, distracting materialism

6 That Man is naturally good, even divine, because of his Divine Intellect —That Nature is inherently good because it is symbolic of the spirit (God) --That God, the Oversoul, is the universal soul that permeates all being (much like “the Force”)

7 According to Norton:  True reality is spiritual,  idealistic  self–reliance & individualism  exaltation of individual over society  triumph of feeling over scientific reason

8 Transcendentalism View of the World: Everything in the world, including human beings is a reflection of the divine soul The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world. People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature and in their own souls. Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity Spontaneous feeling and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality.

9 Examples  Transcend: Go beyond  Central Idea of Transcendentalism: The way to truth or ultimate reality is not available to reason, logic, science, or the senses; it is available only through intuition- -what the Transcendentalists called the Divine Intellect.  Example: We can tell by using our reason, logic, science, and the senses, whether a person is dead or alive; we CANNOT tell by using our reason, logic, science, or the senses, whether or not it is GOOD to be alive.  Transcendentalism is an extreme form of Romanticism and shares its views of Man, Nature, God, and Society. What does it mean to transcend?

10  God: To the Transcendentalists, God is the Oversoul, the soul of the Universe. God is like the Force (in Star Wars) but without a Dark Side.  Imagine a sea or ocean of benevolence that surrounds us. This sea has no surface and no bottom. We float in this sea like little bottles.  This is the Transcendentalist idea of what the Oversoul is like.  N.B. The Transcendentalists were not Christians. Their vision of God was Unitarian--not Trinitarian. What was their belief about God?

11  Man: Go back to your image of the bottomless, surface-less sea. Man is a bottle floating in the sea. The bottle is filled with a drop of the same water in which he floats. There is a cork in the bottle.  The drop of water is the Divine Intellect or Intuition--a piece of God which defines each individual person. Christians might refer to this part of Man as his conscience, or perhaps his soul. View of Man?

12  Nature: To the Transcendentalists, Nature was a reflection of the Oversoul and the way to communicate with the Oversoul. Contemplation of Nature enables Man to “pop his cork” and become one with God.  Nature is good, beautiful, and a reflection of, and conduit to, God. View of Nature?

13  Society:  Question: What prevents the individual from following his Divine Intellect and doing what is good?  Answer: Society and its corrupting Materialism.  According to the Transcendentalists, Society is corruptive because under its influence and pressure to conform, Man is discouraged and distracted from listening to his Divine Intellect and doing what he knows in his heart to be good. View of Society ?

14 Two Transcendentalists  Ralph Waldo Emerson  Henry David Thoreau

15 Major Works  Ralph Waldo Emerson  “The Dial”; “The Oversoul”; “Self- Reliance”; “Nature”; “The American Scholar”  Henry David Thoreau  Civil Disobedience; Walden  Walt Whitman  Leaves of Grass which includes “Song of Myself”; “I Heard a Learn’d Astronomer”

16 Transcendentalists left these legacies: They influenced Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. through the notion of Civil Disobedience. They influenced the beat generation of writers and artists during the 50’s and the “young radicals” of the 60’s and 70’s, where anti-war, anti- government, and anti-materialism ideologies existed. Meditation and the New Age movement. Modern writers like: Frost and Ginsberg.

17 Question: Why may Man--as Emerson puts it—“Trust (himself]”?  Answer: What he means is, that each person may trust his Divine Intellect-- so to trust oneself is to trust God.  Under the right circumstances, Man may “pop his cork” and mingle his drop of water with the rest of the sea that surrounds him, experiencing complete oneness with the Oversoul.  Question: How does he do so?  Answer: He frees himself from corruptive materialism and the concerns of the material, physical, civilized world. He communes with God through contemplation of Nature.


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