“The Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy. “(Emerson 196).
These two lines written by Ralph Waldo Emerson exemplify the whole movement of transcendentalist writers and what they believed in. Though to the writers, transcendentalism was a fight for a belief, unknown to them they could have been fighting for the betterment of human health.
The transcendentalist writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson have directly affected the health of modern society through the idea of transcendental meditation. Through modern science, scientists have linked increases in health among individuals through the use of transcendental meditation. “The term transcendental came from the German Romantic philosopher Immanuel Kant. The term refers to the idea that matters of ultimate reality, God, the cosmos, the self transcend, or go beyond, human experience. “(www. geocities. com).
Transcendental later developed into Transcendentalism, which is The transcending, or going beyond, empiricism, and ascertaining the fundamental principles of human knowledge. Kant (1724-1804) was born and educated in East Prussia. He founded critical philosophy and Transcendental Logic. “Kant made significant revisions to just about every branch of philosophy. ” (www. philosophy. ucdavis. edu).
Emerson's Theory and Use of Language Ralph Waldo Emerson was a profound writer and speaker of the 19th century. As a poet and an essayist he was able to invoke new ideas and thoughts that soon made him the central figure in the Transcendentalist movement. Emerson created a revolution that influenced other great writers such as Thoreau, and Whitman, thus making Ralph Waldo Emerson one of the most ...
In the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) Kant showed the great problems of metaphysics: the existence of God, freedom, and immortality and how they are insoluble by scientific thought.
Kant’s writings had a major influence on Emerson and Thoreau during the time of Transcendentalism and “still have an influence on modern philosophy to the present day. ” (www. ilt. columbia. edu).
Emerson gives notice to Immanuel Kant in his lecture The Transcendentalist by stating “It is well known to most of my audience, that the Idealism of the present day acquired the name of Transcendental, from the use of that term by Immanuel Kant, of Konigs berg. ” (Emerson 199).
Most transcendentalist were idealist that believed in the perfectibility of man, and they were often engaged in projects intended to make this ideal a reality. On of which was a self-governing, experimental community that met in Emerson’s house. This community mainly believed in a monistic universe, or one in which God is immanent in nature, which means that God is permanently and directly present in all things. One of the members of the community and a close friend of Emerson was Henry Thoreau.
On July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau was born. His father was a farmer and a pencil manufacturer. Thoreau studied locally and later won admission to Harvard. “When Emerson moved to Concord in 1835, Thoreau formed a close relationship with him (although the friendship would later give way to mutual criticism) and with others associated with the Transcendentalist group. ” (Thoreau V).
Thoreau lived with Emerson working as a handyman, and in 1845 he built a cabin on some of Emerson’s property and wrote Walden.
Thoreau lived in the woods for two years and stated in Walden “My purpose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live dearly there, but to transact some private business with the fewest obstacles; to be hindered from accomplishing which for want of a little common sense, a little enterprise and business talent, appeared not so sad as foolish. “(19).
What he wanted to transact was to grieve the untimely death of his brother John Jr. , Thoreau’s first book “A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers” was meant to be a tribute to their lives together.
Transcendentalism Transcendentalism is a newly founded belief and practice that involves man's interaction with nature, and the idea that man belongs to one universal and benign omnipresence know as the oversoul. The term was first introduced by German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and was published in his "Critique of Practical Reasoning." The impressions of transcendentalism by the American people ...
Thoreau believed that the acquisition of material goods could consume your life, which meant that he thought that most people would live their lives trying to gather the most material goods, which he thought was useless. Thoreau states this in Walden by the line “I went to the woods because I wished 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.
In his writings Thoreau set a personal example and put into practice the Transcendentalist principles of self-reliance, personal integrity, and spontaneous intuition. These principles are the very beginning of transcendental meditation. Some one hundred years after Thoreau wrote Walden emerged the idea of Transcendental meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a physics graduate of Allahabad University in India, brought transcendental meditation to the world in 1958.
The Maharishi first began teaching Transcendental Meditation (TM) in India. After two years he decided to visit the West. Since that time, he has spoken and taught in over 60 countries, and almost half a million individuals have begun the practice of TM. The Maharishi’s message is that it is easy to unfold the full potential of mind and heart and live a life of freedom, fulfillment and happiness, a very close similarity to Emerson and Thoreau.
Transcendental meditation is A technique of meditation derived from Hindu traditions that promotes deep relaxation through the use of a mantra or A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god. Scientific studies have shown that the use of TM can decrease blood vessel blockage and help people avoid a heart attack or stroke. In 1996 a study supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute was conducted.
“Hypertensive African Americans who were at risk for cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to the Transcendental Meditation program or to a health education control group. Sixty men and women volunteers completed pretest and posttests over an average intervention period of about seven months. The level of fatty substances deposited on participants’ arterial walls, or carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), was evaluated by ultrasound. IMT is a widely used surrogate measure of coronary atherosclerosis and a predictor of heart attack and stroke.
A Comparison of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson?s Beliefs A Comparison of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson?s Beliefs concerning Simplicity, the Value and Potential of Our Soul, and Our Imagination. Henry David Thoreau tests Ralph Waldo Emerson?s ideas about nature by living at Walden Pond, where he discovers that simplicity in physical aspects brings deepness to our mind, ...
The study’s findings were impressive. ” (www. tm. org).
There was an approximate 11 percent decrease in risk of heart attack and a 7. 7 percent to 15 percent reduction in risk of stroke in the individuals that used TM. Dr. Robert Schneider states that “the TM program decreases coronary heart disease risk factors, including hypertension, oxidized lipids, stress hormones and psychological stress, and is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and death in African Americans and the general population. ” (www. tm. org).
The TM program has also contributed to the lessening of drug use as shown on the graph enclosed on page 6. The teachings of The Maharishi and the writings of Thoreau and Emerson had many common aspects although written in different places. The Maharishi developed a Political Leadership Training course to present to leaders of all political parties the principles and scientifically validated programs of perfect administration through Natural Law in order to achieve the ideal of conflict-free politics and problem-free government.
Thoreau had a similar view stated in a few lines: “That government is best which governs least. ” And “That government is best which governs not at all. ” (Thoreau 669).
Both The Maharishi and Thoreau saw problems with the government and went about ways to fix it. They both sought way to better improve the life of a person by going back to the basics and understanding ones self.
Though The Maharishi, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were from different parts of the world and a hundred years apart, the teachings of The Maharishi have a lot of the same ideals that Emerson and Thoreau wrote about and fought to keep. If it were not for the writings of Emerson and Thoreau and other Transcendentalist, the teachings of The Maharishi may have never surfaced and the improved health of the general public may not have been found, thus connecting Emerson and Thoreau to the improved health of modern society.
Henry David Thoreau, a name heard endlessly by American Literature students, has contributed his outrageous views to society even after his death. Lectures and texts let his perceptions live on through teachers and professors that are all agreed on the significance of his writing to the transcendentalistic period. Definitely worth the merit he receives for his contributions, Henry Thoreau's views ...
Although there has been no evidence to link Emerson and Thoreau to The Maharishi, it is evident that some how they have had some influence in the development of Transcendental Meditation from the apparent similarities between the teachings of TM and the early writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Works Cited Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Emerson Essays and Lectures. Ed. The Library of America. New York: Literary Classics, 1983. Forem, Jack. Transcendental Meditation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and The Science of Creative Intelligence.
New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. , 1973. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Other Writings. Ed. Brooks Atkinson. New York: Random House Inc. , 1992. American Heart Association. “Press Release. ” Online www. tm. org/news/prstroke. html “Immanuel Kant” Online www. ilt. columbia. edu/academic/digitexts/kant/bio_kant. html “Immanuel Kant, Transcendental Logic” Online www. philosophy. ucdavis. edu/phil51/kant19th. html “The Transcendentalists” Online www. geocities. com/athens/parthenon/4747/transcend. html.