Human Behavior and Spirituality in Writings of Emerson

Table of Content

In several stories written by Emerson Nature is the key top of discussion. In his works, he captures a lot of this troubling attitude toward nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson makes people recognize that our questions about the universe, relationships with God, man, and nature is answered by our experience of life and by the world around us. Also, Nature is what gives human beings what we have on earth, this includes the sun, tress and a place to live that all lies in the balance of nature. Emerson stands by that humans should take away from the distractions of the society to understand the importance of nature and what nature has to offer them.

Nature, is both an expression of the god and a means of understanding it. The goal is to provide a theory of nature. Emerson who takes more of an approach on individualism and self-reliance believed that nature is what forces humans to not depend on others idea, but to develop our own ideas and believe in ourselves and what we’re capable of. “He works on the world with his understanding alone. He lives in it, and masters it by a penny-wisdom; and that he works most in it, is but a half-man and whilst his arms are strong and his digestion good, mind is imparted and he is a selfish savage” (241). He goes through life not pleasing others, and living up to others expectations of him instead, he is content within himself. Humans already live in a society where they’re told how to dress, act, how to look and live, but Emerson does not fall into that concept, he says to do things how you feel that they should be done, not the opposite of how society tell you what to you to do them. Furthermore, Emerson believes that nature is changing and people must know the reason why it is changing because nature changes because the world is forever evolving and so is society. According, to Emerson observations humans do not understand the beauty of nature and the things that nature has to offer. The problem is that he feels humans are uncertain by the humankind around them and humans must take themselves away from society’s flaw and the perception of how they should be in order to experience life and the natural world.

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To continue, Emerson’s ideas led to the idea of what can be seen as another form of spiritual tradition in America. He inspired spiritual movements because of his personal beliefs. He, who is a leading figure along with William James who attempted to cut out a place for spirituality in America when it came to materialism and religious views. Transcendentalism, is a person of free thought, individualism and that is who Emerson is. He does not conform because conformity is a way for society to change his outlook on life, his way of thinking and he will go against that because he trust his own intuitions.

In addition, the spiritual thought can most directly be traced back to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous “Divinity School Address.” In the year 1838, Emerson was invited to speak to the senior class at the Harvard Divinity School where he was trained as a minister years before. He gave a speech about the spiritual and religious views of New England which caused commotion that didn’t completely die down even a after a whole year. Emerson’s church along with strongholds, to a group of newly trained ministers, was more than enough to cause uproar about spirituality.

At the “Divinity School Address,” he addressed the audience where he delivered an indictment of a Christianity that he accused of robbing human beings of their natural divinity. Emerson saw Jesus not as especially blessed but as the greatest example of what all humans could and should aspire to. This raised passionate fellow transcendentalists and criticism from peers, but those who agreed with Emerson they were glad to hear his words. Due to the fact, some held on to his words because he was convincing and his words were meaningful and it spoke to the few in the audience as he gave his speech.

Emerson creates a common ground metaphorically and in an abstract sense speaks to each and every man. Emerson is convinced that humans take nature and its beauty for granted. For example, we take stars for granted because we know that wherever we go, the stars will be with us. What Emerson makes clear is that though we can see the stars and they are accessible, they are only accessible visibly. He believed that everyone should learn from nature and find a peace within themselves from it. He once said, “Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact” He even attempted to break down the stigma to influence people to be “self-reliant” to embrace the life that surrounds them, embrace the connection to nature, and to not be afraid of the outside and inner worlds. Thoreau, like Emerson who are similar in some ways when it comes to individualism wants humans to find a direction and purpose in life through immediate contact. He believes that individuals should change society, as oppose to Emerson who takes more of an approach on individualism and self-reliance. `

When it came to the way that Emerson looked at nature he looked into deeper meanings, and saw what nature symbolize. He wanted his revelations from nature to be abstract and come by surprise to people, because he was believe there is a deeper meaning behind nature and tried to figure that out, because you can see nature, but a person really know the reason behind it all so he wanted to get people’s mind flowing and think even deeper. With that being said, Emerson felt that humans took nature for granted. He saw new things each day that others may have not looked deep into because he was fascinated by the beauty of nature. He has a philosophy of seeing things new each day and that all sorts of nature have a beautiful influence, even if they are always present. For example, he has mention the sun before and how it shines into the eyes of a man but shines into the heart of a child. There is abstract in what he sees and he sense a deeper connection because what he sometimes witness are beyond what anyone else thinks are have seen before because he is so in tune to the beauty of it all. He contemplated with himself a lot about the natural world, and the things that surrounds it. For Whitman, he is inspired and also wonders why humans distance themselves from the natural world, humans can sometimes escape their connection to it, and he reminds readers that humans have to become one with nature because it is all around us. Nature is Whitman’s religion; more than any man-made institution, the laws by which man can and should live are plainly visible in the natural world. Not only both, Thoreau and Emerson saw the beauty of nature and the hidden meanings behind what’s the reason for nature Whitman also did as well. “Keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude,” which is found in nature, even while “in the midst of the crowd” (55).

Furthermore, Emerson’s writings style throughout his works especially in “Nature” he is seen as an observer of his times. He finds the true meaning in beauty, spirits, truth and what it means to be an individual. He also urges readers to avoid envying or imitating others viewed as models of perfection; instead, he says, readers should take pride in their own individuality and never be afraid to express their own original ideas. In addition, he says, they should refuse to conform to the ways of the popular culture and its shallow ideals; rather they should live up to their own ideals.

Finally, when it comes to nature and individualism Emerson believes in what he believes in and won’t conform in order to be accepted by society. He is his own person, and he believes in self-reliance as a free thinker as a transcendentalist. As he stands by that humans should take away from the distractions of the society to understand the importance of nature and what nature has to offer them.

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Human Behavior and Spirituality in Writings of Emerson. (2021, Oct 22). Retrieved from

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