How have the thoughts and images of either Emerson or Thoreau (or both) and Walden given you a clearer sense of what it is you are looking for in your own life?
The idea of Transcendentalism, of which Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures of, is a movement in American Literature which I was familiar with, yet had not known the term or official meaning of. Developed around 1836, Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement influenced by romanticism and a number of philosophies, and teaches that “divinity pervades all nature and humanity” (“Transcendentalism”). This this idea of transcendentalism becomes clearer when keeping it in mind and thinking about Walden’s sentence in Chapter 2 of ‘Where I Lived, and What I Live For’:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”
This quote by Walden highly resonates with me as I personally love to both learn and explore new things as well as teach those around me. During my teenage years and especially those spent at university, I have discovered that although I can learn a lot within the four walls of a classroom, it is out in the world surrounded by nature that I will learn the most. It is my greatest fear that I will spend all my life within a classroom – both teaching and learning – yet will die having not lived and having in fact, not learnt anything at all.
It is my goal in life to travel the world, experience different cultures and customs, and surround myself in nature; to learn as much as I can both inside of the classroom and out, and when my time comes to an end, I hope that I can say that I have lived and that I have achieved all that I have wanted to achieve in this world.
Thoreau, Henry David, James Lyndon Shanley, and John Updike. Walden. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2004. Print.
“Transcendentalism.” Oxford Dictionary 2017. Web. 22 Aug. 2017.
Snapwire. Abandoned Forest. Web. 22 Aug. 2017.