Transcendetalism The New Religion Essay Research Paper — страница 4

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would have been inconceivable to their Puritan ancestors. Transcendentalism prescribed to the divinity of man. The Transcendental religion exhibited an abiding faith in man?s genius and goodness, and consequently, this led to a platform that supported vigorous demostration of individualism ? the new moral rights and moral prerogatives of each moral person even if it subverted the will of the majority or sabotaged the will of the establishment. In ?Civil Disobedience?, Thoreau preaches this value with arresting ardor to inspire individualism. Thoreau writes: There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I

please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose (Resistance to Civil Government, 1767). As Transcendentalists like Thoreau perceived a need for a new philosophy to be cultivated to address spiritual issues in society, he also conferred his enthusiastic concept of individualism to the transcendental persuasion. This aspect of the Transcendental religion would protect the powerless in politics just as the religion of today protects the emotionally, and mentally fatigued. Thoreau became a Transcendental detractor of evil and unjust government machines that supported slave laws, unjust wars, and expedience, and a Transcendental

preacher who promoted the rights of the individual. Because of Thoreau?s passion for moral law and his fastidiousness to execute moral law, he became the most prominent champion for the rights of the individual. As a writer, a speaker, an insurrectionist, and an emigrant, Thoreau became the principal prophet for the rise and fame of the Transcendentalism religion. In 1955, critic, Francis B. Dedmond examined Thoreau?s spiritual mission: Thoreau was not naturally political-minded, and he would have concerned himself very little with politics, politicians, and all the accoutrements of government, indeed with government itself, if government had not threatened to trample underfoot the individual and if his conscience had not been an unrelenting taskmaster driving him to the defense

of the individual. Thoreau agreed with Coleridge that life itself is ?the principle of Individuation.? Thus, even the nations of the earth are inconsequential in comparison with individuals; the parts are infinitely more valuable than the whole. ?Nations! What are nations?? The historian strives in vain to make them memorable? It is individuals who populate the world.? Being convinced of this, Thoreau argued in his Journal and in ?Civil Disobedience? that the rights of the individual were the primary concern of the state?(NCLC, Vol. 21, 337) As Transcendentalism was growing infamously or famously, thoughts and actions of transcendental religious doctrine continued to be verified. In ?Walden? and ?Nature?, Thoreau and Emerson devotedly pursue a cause as they assert their freedom

from materialism and emphasize their communion with God. As Emerson mentally retreats to nature, and Thoreau physically retreats to nature, they are in essence retreating to their sanctuary of worship. Withdrawing from decadence and chaos, they are symbolizing Transcendental religious worship in the purest form. Like Buddhists retreat to their temples, Catholics to their cathedrals, and Taoists to themselves, Transcendentalists are retreating to nature or the Transcendental ?house of worship? to meditate, to be spiritually cleansed and to be joined with the Creator to obtain wisdom and clarity. In Walden, Thoreau writes: Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more that his ten fingers, or in extreme cases, he may add his ten toes, and lump

the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! 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 thumbnail? The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which by the way, are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense? and the only cure for it as for them is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose (Walden, 1816) Religious words and actions are evident as it is clear that Thoreau?s religious objective was to achieve an elevation of purpose through his pilgrimage. Like a