“The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. He is a sovereign, and stands on the centre. For the world is not painted, or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe. Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right. Criticism is infested with a cant of materialism, which assumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all men, and disparages such as say and do not, overlooking the fact, that some men, namely, poets, are natural sayers, sent into the world to the end of expression, and confounds them with those whose province is action, but who quit it to imitate the sayers. The poet does not wait for the hero or the sage, but, as they act and think primarily, so he writes primarily what will and must be spoken, reckoning the others, though primaries also, yet, in respect to him, secondaries and servants; as sitters or models in the studio of a painter, or as assistants who bring building materials to an architect.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, Second Series
Essay on Transcendentalism
1016 Words5 Pages
Emerson and Thoreau and their Perspectives of Transcendentalism
Imagine a world where each individual thought for himself, not allowing other
outside influences to mold his ideas. We currently live in a society in which a single clip
on television, quote from a newspaper, or opinion from a peer can consequently
determine how one thinks or the outlook they have on a topic.
In "Self-Reliance," Emerson states, "A man should learn to detect and watch that
gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than luster of the
firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, just because
it is his." In this quote Emerson is elaborating on the idea that we must all exude…show more content…
emphasizes that only true happiness can be achieved through following one's heart.
Mansions and cars can never make a person truly happy, even if he believes it himself.
People are often preoccupied with the view of the society in which they live. One must
"listen to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius" to identify his true passions
(Thoreau). If one is fortunate enough to experience this tremendous joy, he should pursue
it, even if it means taking a risk. In the modern world, people may find it more difficult
to follow Thoreau's claims. Society considers certain careers and lifestyles to be much
worthier and successful paths. If one has the courage to venture outside of this realm of
acceptance, he may achieve happiness on a personal level, but not within society. In
today's world, many people value materialistic items to an unhealthy extent. They focus
their lives on doing well in school, obtaining a decent job, earning money, and buying
their way to happiness, rather than identifying and pursuing their passions. However,
they do not realize that "money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul"
(Thoreau). They could devote their lives to pursuits that bring them personal fulfillment,
even if they are not always profitable paths, such as performing arts, environmental
conservation, teaching, or writing. While Thoreau believes it is