Updated September 10, 2022

Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America

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Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America essay
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The American transcendentalists, in particular, found sympathetic ideals in such mystical philosophies as Neoplatonism, and in the religions of East Asia, introduced into the Boston area in the early nineteenth century. From Hinduism and Buddhism, they adopted a holistic philosophy based in pantheism and in the ideal of a ‘universal brotherhood’ shared by humanity, nature, and God.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had great admiration for Asian philosophy, and Hinduism in particular, derived from his familiarity with the sacred Hindu texts, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita.The same spirit of naturalism led many Romantics to idealize Native American culture. Historians who observed this culture, such as George Catlin, popularized the image of Native Americans as people who deeply respected nature and the natural world. Harmony with nature and its living creatures was central to Native American culture, which looked upon living things—plants, animals, and human beings—as sacred parts of an all-embracing, spiritually charged environment. The Native American spirit wasReacting against the material excesses of advancing industrialization, they found sympathetic ideals in such mystical philosophies as Neoplatonism, and in the religions of East Asia.

The giants of transcendentalism were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Emerson is perhaps best known for his essays, especially those on the virtues of self-reliance appreciation of Asian philosophy, including the Bhagavad-Gita. Thoreau, a fierce anti-materialist, abandoned urban society to live in the Massachusetts woods near Walden and nonconformity. His poetry shows a mystic reverence for nature and a unique Pond—an experiment that lasted twenty-six months. He described his love of the natural world, his nonconformist attitude toward society, and his deep commitment to monkish simplicity in his ‘handbook for living,’ called Walden, or Life in the Woods. In this intimate yet forthright diary, Thoreau glorifies nature as innocent and beneficent—a source of joy and practical instruction.

Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America essay

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Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America. (2020, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/transcendentalism-and-other-views-of-nature-in-nineteenth-century-america/


How did transcendentalism affect nature?
Thoreau and Emerson emphasized on the transcendentalist idea of human harmony with nature. They believed that nature can help us improve spiritually and help us connect to the rest of the world . According to Transcendental ideas, everything is connected, everything is one.
What did transcendentalist believe in during the 19th-century?
Transcendentalists advocated the idea of a personal knowledge of God, believing that no intermediary was needed for spiritual insight . They embraced idealism, focusing on nature and opposing materialism.
What did transcendentalists believe humans and nature have in common?
Key transcendentalism beliefs were that humans are inherently good but can be corrupted by society and institutions, insight and experience and more important than logic, spirituality should come from the self, not organized religion, and nature is beautiful and should be respected .
What impact did transcendentalism have on American society?
As a group, the transcendentalists led the celebration of the American experiment as one of individualism and self-reliance. They took progressive stands on women's rights, abolition, reform, and education . They criticized government, organized religion, laws, social institutions, and creeping industrialization.
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