Analysis Of Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

1183 Words5 Pages
Natures Second Face
In the early mid-nineteenth century, a philosophical movement known as transcendentalism took root and flourished in America. It evolved into a predominantly literary expression which placed an emphasis on the corruptions of organized religion, political parties, and societal involvement; above all, the movement promoted the wonders of “nature” and its deep connection to the divine. The adherents through transcendentalism believed that knowledge could be arrived through intuition and contemplation of the internal spirit rather than by the means of the senses. As the two most prominent figures in the transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau whole-heartedly embrace the principles of nature
…show more content…
Emerson encourages one to think of nature as a whole, and not merely as a collection of individual entities.
Furthermore, he evokes the notion of the embodiment of nature and how few are able to see it; claiming the ones capable of perceiving such enlightenment are the ones who retain a benevolent innocent spirit—such as child—and who has retained the concept in times of adulthood—the poet. The mind of a child responds emotionally rather than sensorial. As a final remark in Emerson’s first chapter of nature, he states: in order for man to see nature plainly and receive the benefits one must push aside the old ways of thinking and egotism to become, as Emerson states, a transparent eyeball. ‘I am nothing, I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am a part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental” (______). This form of vision represents the primary benefit of Nature, a form of ultimate transcendency where there is a spiritual real of reason beyond material understanding. Humanistic delight in the landscapes, which is made up of many forms, provides an example of this integrated vision in which the universal entity transmits itself into one’s consciousness and makes one sense oneness with God. Nature, is thereby a metaphor of the mind in Emerson’s eyes.
The future American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau would go on to test Emerson’s
Get Access