Transcendentalism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by LuxSpiritus, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. "Transcendentalism is a religious and philosophical movement that was developed during the late 1820s and '30s[1] in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School[citation needed]. Among the transcendentalists' core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature.
    Transcendentalists believe that society and its institutions-particularly organized religion and political parties-ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual. They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed."
     
    "Transcendental knowledge[edit]
    The transcendentalists desired to ground their religion and philosophy in transcendental principles: principles not based on, or falsifiable by, physical experience, but deriving from the inner spiritual or mental essence of the human.[citation needed]
    It was rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume,[2] and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), interpreting Kant's a priori categories as a priori knowledge.[citation needed] The transcendentalists were largely unacquainted with German philosophy in the original, and relied primarily on the writings of Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Victor Cousin, Germaine de Staël, and other English and French commentators for their knowledge of it.
    In contrast, they were intimately familiar with the English Romantics, and the transcendental movement may be partially described as a slightly later American outgrowth of Romanticism. Another major influence was the mystical spiritualism of Emanuel Swedenborg.
    Individualism[edit]
    Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions-particularly organized religion and political parties-ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed. Even with this necessary individuality, the transcendentalists also believed that all people possessed a piece of the Divine (God). Because God is one, this also united all people as one being.
     
    Indian religions[edit]
    Transcendentalism has been influenced by Indian religions.[10][3][note 1] Thoreau in Walden spoke of the Transcendentalists' debt to Indian religions directly:
    In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water-jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.[11]
     
    Idealism[edit]
    The transcendentalists varied in their interpretations of the practical aims of will. Some among the group linked it with utopian social change; Brownson connected it with early socialism, while others considered it an exclusively individualist and idealist project. Emerson believed the latter. In his 1842 lecture "The Transcendentalist", Emerson suggested that the goal of a purely transcendental outlook on life was impossible to attain in practice:
     
    You will see by this sketch that there is no such thing as a transcendental party; that there is no pure transcendentalist; that we know of no one but prophets and heralds of such a philosophy; that all who by strong bias of nature have leaned to the spiritual side in doctrine, have stopped short of their goal. We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels' food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. ...Shall we say, then, that transcendentalism is the Saturnalia or excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish."
     
    http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism#Major_figures
     
     
    I totally follow this. So rational.

     

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