Ralph Waldo Emerson » Great Thinkers « Great People
In the age before the internet, TV, movies and novels, one of the most popular forms of entertainment was the lecture. Americans would pack auditoriums and lyceums to hear speakers hold forth on topics from science to religion. In the half century between the 1830s and the 1880s, no speaker was more popular than Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Sage of Concord.
Trained as a Unitarian minister, Emerson ultimately became America's top secular preacher and the father of the philosophical movement known as transcendentalism. Emerson believed that true spiritual revelation came from instinct, and encouraged people to slow down, listen up and trust the voice within. "A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within," Emerson wrote in his essay , "more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages."
Emerson's uniquely American philosophies were not without fault. His me-first, go-your-own-way boosterism could be interpreted as self-centeredness, a trait Americans are often accused of having. In other words, one critic wrote, "Emerson must be held blameless for the fact that his exaltations on individual get-up-and-go have ended, in the fullness of time, by producing George Steinbrenner." His philosophies never came up with a satisfactory answer for why really terrible, evil things happen in the world, and whether a wicked-minded person should also accept Emerson's exhortations to "trust thyself."
But as his friend and contemporary Walt Whitman, said, "the best part of Emersonianism is, it breeds the giant that destroys itself." You can dislike Emerson, turn against him, toss his works aside and set out on your own path. Just the way he told you to.
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Wikipedia
Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman were three authors during this time that wrote about an idea that would later become the theme of many papers, discussions and lectures, Wakefulness.
As the two most prominent figures in the transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau whole-heartedly embraced these principles.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
National and international thought has been greatly influenced by Emerson's philosophy, which has also been a major source of inspiration for future thinkers. He was an authority on showing the way that life has to follow, a way which challenges existing standards and manages to overcome personal, national and religious barriers.
Self-Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson
In his 1841 publication called Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson includes an essay simply entitled Self-Reliance in which he states "Trust thyself…Great men have always done so and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age…" .
A Discussion of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Beliefs and …
The words were taken from Thoreau’s quote, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.'; Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau changed our lives.
Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Transcendentalism at …
Marsh added his own "Preliminary Essay,"underscoring the distinction between "the understanding," thatdistinctly Lockean faculty of rationalizing from the senses and"the Reason," those higher intuitions valued not only by Germanidealists but by mystics through the ages.
Soon afterward, Frederic Henry Hedge, a Unitarian ministerequally conversant with German thought, wrote for thatdenomination's journal, The Christian Examiner, a laudatoryarticle on Coleridge that Hedge claimed was "the first word, sofar as I know, which any American had uttered in respectfulrecognition of the claims of Transcendentalism." This articlemade a very great impression on Ralph Waldo Emerson, who calledit "a living leaping Logos."
Various essays by Thomas Carlyle in the Edinburgh Review were deeply appreciated by Emerson reading them in New England in 1832, and by 1833 he had set out for Europe in hopes of meeting Carlyle in Scotland, which he did.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803 and died in 1882
Although Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau shared similar views and beliefs relating to Transcendentalism, the approach each author took in writing and making the ideas that were so important concrete was not alw...