Transcendentalism and Deep Ecology

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Transcendentalism has been linked to the birth of deep ecology, given the "emotion and spiritual philosophy" that connects the two movements. Both transcendentalism and deep ecology romanticize the natural world, and critique the way industrialization, modernization, and urbanization encroach on ecological and spiritual purity. The eco-centric worldview and value system espoused by deep ecology has its roots in transcendentalism (Hicks, n.d.). Both transcendentalists and deep ecologists disparage the ways individuals, communities, and whole cultures present the human being as being entitled to rape and plunder the earth. However critical they were of human activity and stupidity, the transcendentalists were not misanthropes. The transcendentalists advocated for a better world, one that discarded ineffective and corrupt forms of government in favor of a more just and egalitarian society. All were abolitionists, in an era where slavery and sexism were both normative. Emerson advocated material and spiritual self-reliance over philanthropy as a means of self-empowerment. He also criticized traditional types of philanthropy as having "a certain air of quackery," (Emerson, 1842). Philanthropy is often used as an excuse to avoid doing the real work of transforming the self and the society, according to Emerson. Thoreau promoted political activism in a more direct way than Emerson. In "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau advocated various forms of civil disobedience as a means of

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