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Transcendentalism - Essay Example

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Transcendentalism shifts the focus away from an external God that rules the universe and towards a vision of the universe and of God being embodied in a subjective reality grounded in the individual. This paper explores a related basic tenet of Transcendentalism of the…
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Transcendentalism

Download file to see previous pages... The thesis is that the Transcendentalist tenet of the individual being the center of the cosmos is validated in Waldens Thoreau (Thoreau; Morin; Reuben; Simpson).
At the center of Thoreaus philosophy is the assertion that a kind of salvation and bliss could be found only if men followed their own genius and went their own way, in a shout out to individuality and the power that resides in the individual to determine his own happiness, outside of the conventions of society and of a religious organization. Indeed, in Thoreau it seems clear that within the individual resides a faculty to make his own way. He makes this clear in the way he likens an inner inspiration to an inner drumbeat, that some people more than others are better able to hear and to follow, against the tide of human society. Thoreau says of this thus, that if an individual does not go with what the rest of society is doing, pursuing an enterprise of seeming urgent importance, why should society then pressure that man to comform? That mans inner disposition is to be respected, because he may be following an inner music or following the prodding of an internal beat: “Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer” (Thoreau 245). This passage demonstrates the tenet of the individual as the spiritual center of the cosmos. Here Thoreau hints at a reality that is accessible to every individual, that is sometimes at odds with the reality of convention and the demands of society. In this passage Thoreau is saying that reality is not something that is the same for all, and that sometimes society may be clueless and running blind even in pursuit of this project or that, when inspiration for a truer work lies within. In this way Thoreaus work makes explicit reference and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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