Role Of Transcendentalism In Modern Society

1060 Words5 Pages
Transcendental ideals are relevant to transcendentalists, but no longer valued in modern American life; transcendentalists are against materialism and hierarchies in society, whereas modern American life is built on hierarchies and the unremitting desire to acquire more and live a garish lifestyle. Transcendentalists live minimally, while most modern Americans strive to be successful and gain as much as possible. There is nothing wrong with pursuing success and wealth, but many transcendentalists see that type of lifestyle as monotonous and insignificant. Due to the hunt for prosperity and materials in modern America, transcendentalism is no longer relevant.
In today’s society, there are numerous structures that are relied on to keep America
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The ones with the most experience and work ethic make it. As an adult, there is no time for acting childish, you must be mature. These are a few of the philosophies believed by modern American adults that you must contain to be a successful individual. Transcendentalists believe the opposite, which can be seen in Ralph Waldo’s essay, “Nature”, “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood,” ( Emerson).Transcendentalists believe those closest to nature are actually the most successful, and in order to be close to nature you must have kept your childish spirit into adulthood. Being close to nature is the ultimate objective of a transcendentalist. They see it as better than anything you could ever buy or acquire by working a job. They also believe to be close to nature you must have the heart of a child, which is not something many adults in modern America long to possess. Transcendentalists pursue purity by trying to not be influenced by man and materialistic things; they live minimally off of nature and believe materialistic objects are gratuitous. Most modern Americans chase materialistic things, making the transcendental idea of purity through nature and the countenance of minimal materials irrelevant to most modern…show more content…
A friend of Bryant, Thomas Cole, is moving from the vast nature filled plains of America to the crowded streets of Europe. Bryant is telling his friend to enjoy the new scenery and opportunities, but to not forget his home. It seems that the poet almost puts a negative connotation on Europe, calling it “fair but different,” showing his penchant for American transcendentalism (Bryant 554). Thomas Cole’s move to learn about new things and gain knowledge can almost show the abandonment of transcendental ideals and the shift to modern American life, where most people pursue jobs and social opportunities. He is leaving behind the nature of America and joining the hustle and bustle of the cities of Europe. This transition shows how over time transcendental ideals have become less and less valuable, because of people’s desire to gain opportunities and have
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