Presentation on theme: "The Human Spirit and the Natural World. Ralph Waldo Emerson The son of a Unitarian minister Lived with his aunt after his father died; she encouraged."— Presentation transcript:
Ralph Waldo Emerson The son of a Unitarian minister Lived with his aunt after his father died; she encouraged his independent thinking Became pastor of the Second Church of Boston Resigned after 3 years because he was dissatisfied with spiritual restrictions in Unitarianism His controversial ideas attracted many young people of the time Highly individualistic and resisted conformity Writings express individuality and humanity’s spiritual connection to nature
Transcendentalists: The Seekers of the Nature of Truth
Revolutionizing American Literature The individual is at the center of the universe; no institution (religious or political) is as powerful as the individual. At this time, many religious and scholarly institutions downplayed the importance of the individual. To the Transcendentalist, the mind is the most powerful and important force in the universe. The human mind is so powerful that it can unlock any mystery from Nature to God.
The “Over-Soul” Read Buddhist and Hindu religious texts to examine their own faiths Every soul and all of Nature is part of an “Over-Soul” We all come from the mind of God, and in death, we all return to it. Man, Nature, and the “Over-Soul” are all equally connected. Eastern Mysticism + Romantic Ideals = Transcendentalism!!
The Transcendental Legacy Ideas that the government should work to serve the people who created it Believed in nonviolent, civil disobedience Fierce abolitionists Considered a “ripple” in history, it lasted only 10 years and only produced only two major books: Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Thoreau’s Walden. Followers included Amos Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau.
Emerson’s Self-Reliance Envy is ignorance Imitation is suicide Linguistic inversions – language inverted to prove a point You must follow your own path – not someone else’s. “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.”
Trust thy self. Be a leader! Not a follower. If you truly want to be free, then you must be a nonconformist. The only person that you have to answer to in reality is yourself. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
To be great is to be misunderstood. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE WRONG! Victory belongs to the daring or the bold!
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau p. 412 Civil Disobedience is a work that encourages people to resist governmental policies nonviolently with which they disagree. Nonviolence is the key “Government is best that governs least…” The army is being used by the government to oppress people.
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau The danger of big government is that the government can act before citizens are asked whether or not they are in line with the particular action. Government itself is like a gun that can shoot those citizens which disagree with its actions – this is a perversion of what the founding fathers created our government for.
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau Government does not settle the West, does not educate the youth or future of America, and does not keep our country free – the American people do. Oftentimes government rewards the criminals of society – and he uses the world of business in America as an example – as opposed to those citizens who are actually working for the benefit of our country.