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Introduction to Transcendentalism


Introduction to Transcendentalism What is Transcendentalism? ... within each individual lie the clues to nature and history All knowledge begins with self-knowledge. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Transcendentalism

Introduction to Transcendentalism
What is Transcendentalism?
  • Transcendentalism
  • Is a spiritual belief system
  • Was a philosophical movement
  • Was a literary movement
  • Began in the 1830s in Concord, Massachusetts
  • Is considered the first truly American
    philosophical and literary movement

The Basic Premises of Transcendentalism
  • Belief that an individual is the spiritual center
    of the universe
  • So within each individual lie the clues to
    nature and history
  • All knowledge begins with self-knowledge.
  • Nature is a living mystery full of signs
  • Nature is symbolic and spiritual
  • One must have faith in intuition, for no church
    or traditional creed can communicate truth.

Three Categories
  • We will focus on and study Transcendentalist
    principles that fall in three categories
  • To Thine Own Self Be True
  • Au Natural
  • Fight for Your Rights

To Thine Own Self Be True
  • Text Self-Reliance
  • Author Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Philosopher, poet, preacher, and essayist
  • Known for his use of aphorisms in his writing

To Thine Own Self Be TrueSelf-Reliance
  • Determine Truth for Yourself- Only accept those
    traditions which appear to be true reject the
  • Know Thyself- Become a person of principle and
    then live by those principles, even if the
    majority of society doesnt agree.
  • Be Yourself- Exercise the self-discipline
    necessary to study oneself in relation to nature.

Au Natural
  • Text Walden
  • Author Henry David Thoreau
  • Essayist teacher
  • He lived in isolation on Walden Pond for two
    years to learn from Nature

Au Natural Walden Principles
  • God as Nature- God is in man and in all living
  • Contemplation of Divine Nature and Nature- It is
    best to live as close to nature as possible, for
    there a person can most successfully contemplate
    his/her reason for being.
  • Time and Personal Growth- Work (for money) only
    enough to fulfill basic needs. Dedicate the rest
    of your time to personal growth.
  • Physical and Mental Work- People should be both
    physically and intellectually active throughout

Fight For Your Rights
  • Text Civil Disobedience
  • Author Henry David Thoreau
  • Wrote this essay while in jail for refusing to
    pay taxes that funded a war that he didnt
    believe in.

Fight For Your RightsCivil Disobedience
  • Least Government Best- Have to courage to
    practice some form of non-violent protest if a
    law violates your principles, even if you must
    suffer the consequences.
  • Four Tenants of Civil Disobedience-
  • You must know the law
  • You must appeal to a higher law (morality, God)
  • You must know the consequences for violating the
  • You must choose to suffer the consequences
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