Transcendentalism

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Transcendentalism

by Manijure » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:23 pm

There was a form of philosophy that I learned in junior year of high school called Transcendentalism. It's essentially a middle finger to society's expectations and embraces individuality. One well known Transcendentalist by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson, has a quote that I remember to this day: "Envy is ignorance. Imitation is suicide."

Although I disagree with some of Transcendentalism's values, as I believe society is an important and necessary part of our lives, I can relate to its individualistic stances a lot. There are people in this world who fail to realize the value of themselves and try so hard to imitate other well-off people that they lose their own persona, their own conscience. I have had times when I felt pressured to stick to society's norms because it seemed I would be an awkward outcast if I didn't. Eventually, I just said screw it and followed my own heart, while maintaining moral decency. It is always important to know yourself more than you know and follow others.

So what are your views on Transcendentalism? Agree? Disagree? Both? I'd love to initiate a philosophical discussion. :)
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Re: Transcendentalism

by warbot1000 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:05 am

A youtuber I like once said something along the lines of "life is a play, if you act only on emotions it is a tragedy if you act on logic it is a comedy". She probably said it more eloquently than that but you get the idea. Being sucked into acting how society wants you to act isn't really a terrible thing. I mean everyone does boring things that are expected of us (work, got to school, chores, ect.) but everyone I know is still an individual and adds their personality to things. I mean class clowns do silly, funny things. I think acting to societies norms helps us be a good society and as long as you keep on being yourself everything is fine. TBH I don't really think about societies norms when I act I just do whatever pops into my head.

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Re: Transcendentalism

by Juice Box » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:34 am

Heard about this before. Always thought they were a bunch of dumb hippies.

I always viewed this as a fight between unity and individuality. Individuality should not be discouraged, but neither should following society's norms. While it's true that society is full of flaws, it still presents to us one of humanity's greatest attributes: unity. Unity is one of the most important things we have at our disposal, and it cannot be more important than individuality. People can and should try to reach their full potential, but the moment they start denying what's normal and expected, they become a problem.
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Re: Transcendentalism

by Manijure » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:08 pm

I agree with basically everything you guys have said. I love society as much as you do; we would never have reached this far if it weren't for unity.

I guess a good analogy for society repressing individuality and free will is Pride and Prejudice and The Dead Poets Society (Robin Williams ftw). This is where society is almost like a dictatorship (not completely, but almost), discouraging people from straying from their "rules" and even punishing and shunning those who do. That's the kind of society I abhor, and which is why I can relate to Transcendentalism somewhat.
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