On Ralph Waldo Emerson & Transcendentalism

So, I mentioned in a post at the beginning of the week that I would be blogging in regards to a great man (like taxis in San Francisco...of which there are 5) and I am trying to be a man of my words. So, without further ado, ladies & gentlemen, I present to you Ralph Waldo Emerson.

So, why an entire blog about his man? Let's start with giving you a brief bio pulled from our friends at Wiki.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 May 1803 – 27 April 1882) was an American essayist, philosopher, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s.

Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. As a result of this ground breaking work he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence".[1] Emerson once said "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."

Considered one of the great orators of the time, Emerson's enthusiasm and respect for his audience enraptured crowds. His support for abolitionism late in life created controversy, and at times he was subject to abuse from crowds while speaking on the topic, however this was not always the case. When asked to sum up his work, he said his central doctrine was "the infinitude of the private man."

Internal monologue (externally projected)

-So, that made this blog very clear.
-Wait! No, it just talked a bit about who he was. So...What?!?
-It shows he's a great man, an inspired thinker & a fantastic orator.
-You want more?
-Yes, please.

What does all that mean? Well, let us start with Transcendentalism (powerful word in scrabble). I hope you noticed the subtle fact that I linked the same topic three times and took the time to glance over the page that is through those portals.

Transcendentalism was a basis for my personal growth and my faith in myself throughout my young adulthood. I am not going to bore you with the exacting details of the Utopian ideas that were set forth by the movement, but rather what I have gathered from some of the key thoughts.

The closing line of the essay "Nature":

So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes. It shall answer the endless inquiry of the intellect, — What is truth? and of the affections, — What is good? by yielding itself passive to the educated Will. ... Build, therefore, your own world. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions. A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit.

Perhaps, the proof is not that easy to discern from a couple of lines, but my central beliefs in life revolve around the concepts of the movement. Spend each day being the best you that you can be and by adhering to the purity of your ideas you will create a better world around yourself. Ask questions, learn daily. Attack confrontation, argue for the sake of growth. Forget nonsense, push toward the positive.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, through his thoughts, essays & poems, had a profound impact on the individual that I have become. Piece this together with some of my previous writings and I am sure you have a good basis of the person that resides on this side of keyboard, for better or worse.

Lastly, a few quotes from Mr. Emerson (because this blog is not nearly long enough):

"I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you know." (

"A friend is one before whom I may think aloud." (I do this a bit too often with my patchwork mind)

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."

"Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints."

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."

"Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good."

Okay, I think you get it now or at least stopped my internal dialogue in regards to the fact. Either way, that brings this blog to a close. Have a fantastic weekend, all!



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