Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau Essay

723 WordsFeb 2, 20163 Pages
A huge dimension of our wellness and culture as humans, our spirituality, is affected by nature. Nature, in its grandeur, has inspired theological thought in many people. A particular movement in history that exemplified this was Transcendentalism. Two particularly famous transcendentalists were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s renowned essay, “Nature” demonstrates the transcendentalists’ fascination with the natural world and their belief in its divinity. A fantastic quote from “Nature” is “Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years.” In this quote, Emerson refers to nature as “God’s plantation”, which clearly shows his belief, which is shared by many transcendentalists, that nature is holy and connected to God. Henry David Thoreau’s classic book Walden demonstrates similar ideas. Perhaps the most famous quote from the book is “I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Thoreau 182) The idea that going to nature allows one to “live deliberately” and understand the “essential facts of life” in essence means that one can develop a true understanding of life through observation and life in nature. The transcendentalists’ beliefs were based in nature. Many others in the
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