Interest in transcendentalism

Category: [Philosophy]


2min read

I developed an interest in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Both Emerson and Thoreau are 19th century Transcendentalists. Of the few things that Transcendentalism stands for, individualism and the importance of nature resonate with me the most.

I will spending some time reading Emerson’s Nature and Self-reliance, and Thoreau’s Walden. Nature and Self-reliance are what I know to be the fundamentals of Transcendentalism. Both Emerson’s and Thoreau’s writings are closer to literary writing than philosophical writing, so I will probably need a bit of translation and transcription to modern English. After all, Emerson is recognized as the literary force in America that led the way in breaking away from Great Britain’s and Europe’s style of literature.

My quest is to sought and define my own philosophy of life, following Seneca: “this is is my own custom; from the many things which I have read, I claim some one part for myself.”

In a previous post, I identified the top three elements of my philosophy - dichotomy of control, natural and necessary needs, and lathe biosas - coming from both Epictetus and Epicurus. My reading is guiding me to explore Alderian psychology (separation of tasks, interpersonal relationships, feeling of community), the value of idleness, existentialism and general continental philosophy, as well as transcendentalism (nature, self-reliance, individualism). There are elements in each of these areas that I can pick up and unify, and define my own philosophy of life. This is my quest, and what I would like to write about the most, moving forward.