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Transcendentalism At A Glance, The Comparison Between Ralph Waldo Emerson's Writings, And A Cat Stevens Song

880 words - 4 pages

Transcendentalism beliefs quickly came into trend, but as fast as it became popular transcendentalism faded out of American culture. Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings were the basis of the transcendental beliefs in the United States. He traveled around Europe and heard Samuel Taylor Coleridge speak about his own beliefs; Emerson was enthralled and soon returned to the United States to spread the information that believers embraced. He wrote many essays on transcendentalism, which is the belief of being individual and not conforming to objects of splendor. Cat Stevens was born well after Emerson had died; yet they believe in similar ideas. Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance" and Stevens's song "100 ...view middle of the document...

In Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance," he writes about the idea that a citizen of a society should remove himself to be an individual. In the line, "Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not," one can understand Emerson's ideas quite clearly. He is writing about how a society does not last forever and if a person clings to a society he will collapse along with it. Emerson believes that people would be all right by themselves without a society's shelter. Individualism is a strong decision to make. Once somebody has made this choice, he should not look back and regret his decision.Looking back into the past is no aid to someone's present life. Emerson believes this and so does Cat Stevens. Both "Self-Reliance" and "100 I Dream" have strong ideas about remaining in the present. The past has already passed and nothing can change that. In "Self-Reliance," the concept of living in the present is present throughout his essay. "But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature...

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