Transcendentalism


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transcendentalism Thoreau

Thoreau contends that men have lost the free will to make individual decisions regarding war, slavery, and domestic issues because government imposes on its citizens only in its own self interests. (Thoreau 1706). He states government loses its integrity when willing to consider profit over the interests of its citizens, and basic human rights such as slavery and war. (Thoreau 1707). He considers slavery as a hateful and stupid enterprise? (Eulau 119). Thoreau feels such deep disgrace being associated with a government who condones slavery, that he refuses to vote, pay taxes, and makes his only contact with this government the tax collector. (Eulau 121). Thoreau personally does not want to be bothered with the issues of government or slavery, but because of his writings he is sought out by Abolitionists to give speeches for them. He feels idealism, individualism and democracy are not achievable in a society willing to maintain slaves. (Eulau 123). He is obsessed with right, truth and justice for all citizens and encourages nonviolent resistance as the means to effectively abolish slavery. (Eulau 124). This position is different than most Abolitionists of the time. During this time most of his attention is directed at the southern slaves states. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 is the event that leads him to become detached from the State. The treatment of a runaway slave weighs heavily on his emotions. His anger leads him to encouragepeople to withdraw farther from the State and its policies. (Eulau 124). He alleges citizens are inadvertently giving aid and support to the government by not refusing their existence by withdrawing in acts of passive revolution. (Eulau 121). These actions by the State lead him to actively criticize slavery.Thoreau holds individualism, self-knowledge and self-realization are the basic elements of transcendentalism. He uses individualism in his essay by describing that a state must lose its coercive sovereignty in such a way that the law of society will function freely. (Parrington 375). The individual must voluntarily concede himself to the economic and political arms of society but moral law is the basic law and is superior to statutes and constitutions. He believes citizens of this society commit themselves to allegiance. (Parrington 375). He implies that no government can have any right over a person or property unless one will concede to it. (Thoreau 1711). His idea of self-knowledge or realization is based on his belief in keeping in touch with the one subject and source of his being. He is a self-conscious romantic and realizes he cannot achieve perfect sharing with nature. His spiritual concerns and imagination will divert him from nature to higher and different worlds. (McIntosh 407). He tries to exist in a place between his mind and nature. His imagination does not separate him from nature but helps him to relate to it. He tries to place the spirit, body, intellectual conscious and unconsciousness into harmonious relations. (McIntosh 407). His examples of undue respect for law are soldiers going to war regardless of their personal feelings. He emphasizes their loss of conscience and what they know to be right. (Vivas 317). Self-knowledge and realization for Thoreau is that there is no abstract state, society, or nation, only individuals; and to both, the fundamental law is the law of morality. (Vivas 317).

In conclusion, the precepts of individualism, self-knowledge and self-realization are some of the elements of transcendentalism found in Civil Disobedience? Thoreau writes this essay partially in support of the Northern Abolitionist. The more he is involved the more frustrated he becomes with the issue of slavery. (Eulau 123). He feels an individual has a duty to follow his own conscious which would lead to mutual tolerance and human cooperation. Thoreau is closed minded to the democratic process of compromise and adjustment. (Eulau 127). Although his writings suggest nonviolent resistance to an undesirable event, he can foresee circumstances where violent methods of resistance are unavoidable. (Eulau 127). Thoreau's writings have been an inspiration to many non-violent revolutionaries such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each of them used Thoreau's methods as their means to pass their message to mankind. The concept which suggests that the external is united with the internal is the ... more

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chocha

It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given. Anhalonium lewinii was new to science. To primitive religion and the Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest it was a friend of immemorially long standing. Indeed, it was much more than a friend. In the words of one of the early Spanish visitors to the New World, "they eat a root which they call peyote, and which they venerate as though it were a deity."
Why they should have venerated it as a deity became apparent when such eminent psychologists as Jaensch, Havelock Ellis and Weir Mitchell began their experiments with mescalin, the active principle of peyote. True, they stopped short at a point well this side of idolatry; but all concurred in assigning to mescalin a position among drugs of unique distinction. Administered in suitable doses, it changes the quality of consciousness more profoundly and yet is less toxic than any other substance in the pharmacologist's repertory.
Mescalin research has been going on sporadically ever since the days of Lewin and Havelock Ellis. Chemists have not merely isolated the alkaloid; they have learned how to synthesize it, so that the supply no longer depends on the sparse and intermittent crop of a desert cactus. Alienists have dosed themselves with mescalin in the hope thereby of coming to a better, a first-hand, understanding of their patients' mental processes. Working unfortunately upon too few subjects within too narrow a range of circumstances, psychologists have observed and catalogued some of the drug's more striking effects. Neurologists and physiologists have found out something about the mechanism of its action upon the central nervous system. And at least one Professional philosopher has taken mescalin for the light it may throw on such ancient, unsolved riddles as the place of mind in nature and the relationship between brain and consciousness.
There matters rested until, two or three years ago, a new and perhaps highly significant fact was observed.* Actually the fact had been staring everyone in the face for several decades; but nobody, as it happened, had noticed it until a Young English psychiatrist, at present working in Canada, was struck by the close similarity, in chemical composition, between mescalin and adrenalin. Further research revealed that lysergic acid, an extremely potent hallucinogen derived from ergot, has a structural biochemical relationship to the others. Then came the discovery that adrenochrome, which is a product of the decomposition of adrenalin, can produce many of the symptoms observed in mescalin intoxication. But adrenochrome probably occurs spontaneously in the human body. In other words, each one of us may be capable of manufacturing a chemical, minute doses of which are known to cause Profound changes in consciousness. Certain of these changes are similar to those which occur in that most characteristic plague of the twentieth century, schizophrenia. Is the mental disorder due to a chemical disorder? And is the chemical disorder due, in its turn, to psychological distresses affecting the adrenals? It would be rash and premature to affirm it. The most we can say is that some kind of a prima facie case has been made out. Meanwhile the clue is being systematically followed, the sleuths--biochemists , psychiatrists, psychologists--are on the trail.
By a series of, for me, extremely fortunate circumstances I found myself, in the spring of 1953, squarely athwart that trail. One of the sleuths had come on business to California. In spite of seventy years of mescalin research, the psychological material at his disposal was still absurdly inadequate, and he was anxious to add to it. I was on the spot and willing, indeed eager, to be a guinea pig. Thus it came about that, one bright May morning, I swallowed four-tenths of a gram of mescalin dissolved in half a glass of water and sat down to wait for the results.
We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single ... more

transcendentalism

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  • R: Thoreau R: Thoreau Thoreau Thoreau contends that men have lost the free will to make individual decisions regarding war, slavery, and domestic issues because government imposes on its citizens only in its own self interests. (Thoreau 1706). He states government loses its integrity when willing to consider profit over the interests of its citizens, and basic human rights such as slavery and war. (Thoreau 1707). He considers slavery as a hateful and stupid enterprise? (Eulau 119). Thoreau feels such deep disgrace...
  • A: Chocha A: Chocha chocha It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given. Anhalonium lewinii was new to science. To primitive religion and the Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest it was a friend of immemorially long standing. Indeed, it was much more than a friend. In the words of one of the early Spanish visitors to the New World, they eat a root which they call peyote, and which they venerate a...
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  • A: Transcendentalism was a movement in philosophy, li A: Transcendentalism was a movement in philosophy, li Transcendentalism was a movement in philosophy, literature, and religion that emerged and was popular in the nineteenth century New England because of a need to redefine man and his place in the world in response to a new and changing society. The industrial revolution, universities, westward expansion, urbanization and immigration all made the life in a city like Boston full of novelty and turbulence. Transcendentalism was a reaction to an impoverishment of religion and mechanization of conscio...
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  • The Life Of Emily Dickens The Life Of Emily Dickens The Life Of Emily Dickens The Life of Emily Dickens Emily Dickinson was raised in a traditional New England home in the mid 1800's. Her father along with the rest of the family had become Christians and she alone decided to rebel against that and reject the Church. She like many of her contemporaries had rejected the traditional views in life and adopted the new transcendental outlook. Massachusetts, the state where Emily was born and raised in, before the transcendental period was the epicenter...