Characteristic Features of Transcendentalism

Characteristic Features of Transcendentalism

Characteristic Features of Transcendentalism : Transcendentalism is a movement which emerged during the 1830’s in the phase of American Literature.

Characteristic Features of Transcendentalism

The poets and a critic created a group called Transcendental club which consists of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. They reacted against the ideals of Puritanism and its orthodoxy rigidity on the society. They were non-conformists and believed in the self-reliance and detachment from any political and religious views. They thought that religious point of view are subjective in nature and the subject of God varies from person to person and hence it completely depends on the notion of individual perspectives and their experiences with God.

Some of the characteristic features of Transcendentalism are as follows:

1) The Transcendental believed that the power of divine or God can be known through the power of emotion and intuition. They rejected the rational and logical entity of mind to know God and reacted against the ideals of Unitarianism. They relied on intuition for all the answers and believed that knowledge comes from within and intuition resides within an individual. They wanted to go beyond or transcend the limitations of human senses and based their knowledge of spiritual and other knowledge by their emotions and inner voice rather than sensory perceptions.

2) They championed the idea of individualism and believed in the idea of self-reliance. They thought that individual entity is the spiritual center of the universe where the prime importance of individual presence on society is established to make progression and development. They critique the society and political aspects which destroy human mind and corrupt their souls. Hence, they believed in the independent of every individual and one should listen to their own mind and soul.

3) The other important philosophy is the philosophy of over soul. It is about the soul’s connection with God where every other souls are connected to God who is the over soul. It means to emphasize that God is omnipresent and is everywhere and hence there are no clear distinction between human soul and nature as the study of nature will help in better understanding the laws of nature which will lead them to understand God and other aspects of soul.

4) The nature also plays an important role in their philosophy as nature is the scared place of solitude and peace which the English Romantics finds it too. It is through nature one can understand God , self and soul which resides within us. They emphasized that man should spend time on nature and study nature which will enable them to attain spiritual guidance and morality than religious texts as God is omnipresent to them and studying nature will guide them to understand God and its relationship.

5) They believed in the idea of non-conformity and hence argued to restrain from any social and political doctrines. They clearly wanted to detach themselves from the set principles and conventions led by the society and urges every individual to become self reliant and independent. They believed that these set of principles destroy mankind and one cannot understand God from it and hence one should not conform to such rules and regulations constructed by the society.

6) They believed in the simplicity of life and sought to restrain from the materialistic and worldly desires. They detached themselves from the urban life and settled in the lap of nature to find solace and calmness instead of the material values which are easily accessible in the urban and city life.

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