Transcendentalism Essay, Research Paper
Transcendentalism is the philosophy that reality cannot be known and the
divine is the guiding principle in man. Transcendentalism says that the way
to god is through yourself; your inner thoughts lead you to a spiritual
reality. Transcendentalism is made up of four main ideas: idealism,
optimism, religion, and individualism. In Emerson’s essay "Self Reliance,"
he expresses his optimistic faith in the power of individual achievement and
originality. He also considered the overarching need to discover and develop
a relationship with nature and with god. I agree with Emerson’s ideas that
"envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide," "that whoso would be a man must be
a nonconformist," and "a man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart
into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise,
shall give him no peace."
I agree with Emerson’s idea that "envy is ignorance; imitation is
suicide." This means that you should be yourself and not try to be like
someone who you are not. Envying someone else for what they are wearing is
just plain out being ignorant; imitating someone is killing your
individualism. You need to do things for yourself and not for anyone else.
For example, one time I was talking to this kid who had those big raver pants
on, he said he hated wearing them, so I asked him why he was wearing them and
he said that he was going to a rave that night and he just wanted to fit in
with all the people there. He was imitating other people who go to raves
just to be cool and conform to their style of dressing. You need to act
yourself and not try to be someone you are not.
I agree with Emerson’s idea that "a man is relieved and gay when he has
put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done
otherwise, shall give him no peace." This means that when a man has tried as
hard as he can and has put every last effort into his work, he is relieved
and satisfied with what he has accomplished. For an example, I had a history
project to do and I have been working on it diligently on it for the last
week. The day I finished it and turned it in I felt proud of myself and
relieved that it was finally done it. When a man has done his best, he
should be proud of what he has done.
I agree with Emerson’s idea, "whoso would be a man must be a
nonconformist." This means that if you’re a man you should not conform to
what everybody else is doing but to do what you feel is right. You don’t
have to conform to what everyone is doing to fit in. If you are man enough
you would realize that you shouldn’t conform to everyone, you would believe
that everyone should be unique in his or her own diverse individualistic way.
For example, the music I listen to isn’t something you can get into right
away; it took many years to actually find these bands and start listening to
them. It’s not very common that people listen to anarcho punk and have the
beliefs that I do. Anarcho punk goes together very well with Emerson’s
individualism ideas and people not conforming to society. If you conform to
what everyone does you are just another victim of how society thinks.
Everyone can’t conform to the same ideas, otherwise this world would be
In conclusion, Emerson’s ideas have helped shape the world today, it has
made people open up their eyes to see that not everybody thinks exactly the
same. Everyone has their own uniqueness and should express that rather than
trying to be someone who you are not. You must do your best to create your
own individual opinions, and beliefs. Not two people are exactly the same
and it should be that way. Diversity allows people to think open-minded. If
you are close-minded you are being purely ignorant and not opening your eyes