Transcendentalism Essay, Research Paper
Various authors have talked about the transcendentalist philosophy, have written many essays, poems, ECT. Transcendentalism is a philosophy that is practiced by few because of its drastic views. It is a difficult task to succeed; many people have found it difficult to go against society. Transcendentalism is a flawed philosophy and is not effective, but it does have a few good points. It is flawed because it contradicts itself and because of its negative views, although it has some points that are positive.
It contradicts itself and makes it impossible to achieve. It says to view things with intuition, but when in nature, knowledge is needed in order to survive. Chris McCandless talks about last minute suggestions with an Alaskan resident about surviving in the wild, “He peppered Gallien with thoughtful questions about the kind of small game that live in the country, the kind of berries he could eat?” (Krakauer 5). The philosophy requires the use of minimal technology; but in the wild, will prove fatal. Jon Krakauer describes Chris’s gear going into the Alaskan interior, “His gear seemed exceedingly minimal for the harsh conditions of the interior?” (5). It calls for a follower to be an individualist but at the same time it says the follower is part of a whole. The contradictions of this philosophy make it not effective.
Its negative views that make the philosophy are ineffective in western society. A view that corrupts it is that a thing is not itself. Nathaniel Brandon talks about how he disagrees with it, “Existence exists (that which is, is) and consciousness is conscious (man is able to perceive reality)- these are axioms at the base of all man’s knowledge and concepts.” Another negative view is to reject the past. The learning of history is important so the people in the present will not make past mistakes. A negative view is anti-tradition. Tradition is a natural tendency of the human being; tradition is a part of everyday life and is unavoidable. The negative views of Transcendentalism make it impossible to be effective.
Masked, positive views do exist in this philosophy. It does give some suggestions for finding one’s self, study nature. Thoreu describes man’s best way to find himself in nature, “The very simplicity and nakedness of man’s life in the primitive ages imply this advantage at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature” (807). In some cases, minimalism makes a man happy because the primitive man is happier with less. Another positive view is the happiness of the spiritual fulfillment; the discovery. The positive views are good outside of the philosophy because they cannot be mixed with the negative values.
Transcendentalism does have true points but the fact that the negative and contradicting views do exist than it still negates the relevance of it. Discovering one’s self is an achievement but the views do not allow it to do so. Without the knowledge, one is not to learn about one’s self because of survival. Transcendentalism is a fictious philosophy that cannot be achieved; it is merely a theory of various authors.