It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him, immortal thoughts. 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.It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. -Excerpt from The American Scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who tried to put transcendentalism into practice.You can search all the texts for words or phrases, and there's even a discussion forum for sharing questions and comments about the great American transcendentalist writer.
Simplify, simplify." – from Walden (1854), by Henry David Thoreau 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.
They created an American "state of mind" in which imagination was better than reason, creativity was better than theory, and action was better than contemplation.
In order to defeat this, he decided he had to leave everything behind that was not absolutely necessary.
When Thoreau moved to Walden Pond, it was to connect with nature, rely on his own self, but mostly to simplify all that he did not need to have.And they had faith that all would be well because humans could transcend limits and reach astonishing heights.Emerson's Writings Many of Ralph Waldo Emerson's addresses, lectures, essays, and other writings are available on this website.Transcendentalism, as expressed by Emerson, is finding your own way to connect with yourself, who you are, and your peace with yourself. Transcendentalism is comprised of beliefs regarding many different, yet connected concepts, such as simplicity, societal conformity, and self-reliance. The only way to truly find your transcendentalism is to create your own path to get there.Because one of the main purposes of transcendentalism is to focus on what you need, instead of what you are told you need, simplicity is key.All unnecessary traditions and customs, that never applied to you or your beliefs in the first place, should be cast aside, and you should only do what is necessary for you to survive and achieve your transcendentalism.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. 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.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." "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.