The original and the modern transcendentalists

The inherent worth and dignity of every person; [50] Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; [51] Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; [52] A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; [53] The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; [54] The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; [55] Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. The official statement of Unitarian Universalist principles describes the "sources" upon which current practice is based: Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. Unitarian Universalist principles and purposes have been modified over time to manifest a broader acceptance of beliefs and traditions among the membership.

The original and the modern transcendentalists

Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass introduced the "free verse" style of poetry, reflecting the individualistic tone of transcendentalism. This picture of Whitman with a butterfly appeared in the edition.

Transcendentalism is a very formal word that describes a very simple idea. People, men and women equally, have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that "transcends" or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch or feel.

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This knowledge comes through intuition and imagination not through logic or the senses. People can trust themselves to be their own authority on what is right. A transcendentalist is a person who accepts these ideas not as religious beliefs but as a way of understanding life relationships.

The individuals most closely associated with this new way of thinking were connected loosely through a group known as The Transcendental Club, which met in the Boston home of George Ripley. Their chief publication was a periodical called "The Dial," edited by Margaret Fuller, a political radical and feminist whose book "Women of the Nineteenth Century" was among the most famous of its time.

The club had many extraordinary thinkers, but accorded the leadership position to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Margaret Fuller played a large part in both the women's and Transcendentalist movements.

She helped plan the community at Brook Farm, as well as editing The Dial, and writing the feminist treatise, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Emerson was a Harvard-educated essayist and lecturer and is recognized as our first truly "American" thinker.

In his most famous essay, "The American Scholar," he urged Americans to stop looking to Europe for inspiration and imitation and be themselves. He believed that people were naturally good and that everyone's potential was limitless.

He inspired his colleagues to look into themselves, into nature, into art, and through work for answers to life's most perplexing questions. His intellectual contributions to the philosophy of transcendentalism inspired a uniquely American idealism and spirit of reform.

The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth.

It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought.

It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.

But the most interesting character by far was Henry David Thoreau, who tried to put transcendentalism into practice. A great admirer of Emerson, Thoreau nevertheless was his own man — described variously as strange, gentle, fanatic, selfish, a dreamer, a stubborn individualist. For two years Thoreau carried out the most famous experiment in self-reliance when he went to Walden Pond, built a hut, and tried to live self-sufficiently without the trappings or interference of society.

Later, when he wrote about the simplicity and unity of all things in nature, his faith in humanity, and his sturdy individualism, Thoreau reminded everyone that life is wasted pursuing wealth and following social customs.

Nature can show that "all good things are wild and free.

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I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Our life is frittered away by detail.

Ideas - "An Overview of American Transcendentalism" - Martin Bickman

An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.

In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds.

They took progressive stands on women's rights, abolition, reform, and education. They criticized government, organized religion, laws, social institutions, and creeping industrialization.Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late s and s in the eastern United States.

It arose as a reaction to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time. The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was of particular interest..

Transcendentalism emerged from "English and German Romanticism. Transcendentalism in Modern Society Transcendentalism is found in today's modern world. Many examples of transcendentalist ideas are in song lyrics, paintings, newspapers, magazine articles, television shows, TV advertisements, films, poetry, novels, biographies, etc.

Watch video · Transcendentalism is a 19th-century school of American theological and philosophical thought that combined respect for nature and self-sufficiency with . Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 >. Show in alphabetical order. Swami Vivekananda () was the foremost disciple of.

The original and the modern transcendentalists

For many of the transcendentalists the term “transcendentalism” represented nothing so technical as an inquiry into the presuppositions of human experience, but a new confidence in and appreciation of the mind's powers, and a modern, non-doctrinal spirituality.

"The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists" by Barry Hankins is a short overview of these two 19th century movements. General books on American History don't tell you enough to understand the movements, but you don't want to get overwhelmed with religious philosophy.

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