Transcendentalist Beliefs

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What were transcendentalists’ beliefs on the individual and how the individual fit into the society? One of the key characteristics of transcendentalism was the belief that the purity of individuals was corrupted by the society and other social institutions such as political parties and organized religion. Hence, the central guiding theory in transcendentalism is the idea that people are at their best when they are independent and self reliant. Transcendentalists held the belief that intuitions surpassed reason as a guide to the truth this led them to their “conception of the sanctity of the individual and that individual’s freedom to make choices guided by intuitional knowledge” (p.1278). Whereas transcendentalists believed in the necessity of individuality, they also held the view that every human being possessed an element or piece of the Over-Soul enabling him or her to communicate with his or her creator through nature that united all people since the Over-Soul is one; hence, making all people a united entity. Thesis: organized institutions such as political parties and religions contribute in negatively tainting and corrupting the innocence of an individual. Transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau held the belief that individuals can only be at their best if they act without the influence of…show more content…
According to Emerson, there only exists One Man and “you must take the whole society to find the whole man” (p.1310). Following this perception, one can conclude that Emerson’s concept of the society is in the shape of a human being where each individual forms a different part of the body. This means that everyone is equally important and the needs of one as important as those of the whole; hence, one cannot be sacrificed for the whole but the whole must come up with a way of helping the individual since the individual’s suffering affects the
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