Thoreau’s Attempt

There are a lot of connections to be made between Thoreau and Emerson. Transcendentalism is the idea of being self-reliant and understanding that you are more than just a human being. You are a part of nature and you are here for nature, not the other way around. The main idea of the beginning of “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” is about getting away from society and living within nature, and understanding what your purpose is. Emerson’s Essay “The Conclusion” talks about relying on yourself and becoming more independent. These two ideas coincide very well and it is easy to see that they both have similar ideas and beliefs. I think the benefit of Thoreau leaving behind the comfort of society to live in the woods is that he gets to experience what it would be like to be more self-reliant and it could help him understand what it is like to live among nature. He can understand that his purpose is not to use nature for his own good but to be there for nature. I personally think I might be able to do it with a little guidance, but I certainly would not enjoy it. I would miss all the technology that I would have to leave behind and I wouldn’t like being so excluded from everything else going on in the world. I love the big cities and all the action so moving into the woods away from everything would be a big step for me. I think a modern reader should take away a couple points from reading pieces of work on transcendentalism. One of them is that the idea of the transcendentalists carries over into today’s times a lot. There are many circumstances where we should learn from their previous experiences and do better than what we are doing. The idea of the transcendentalist is based around bettering yourself and becoming more than what you already are. They want you to transcend into the best version of yourself as a human being. That means learning your purpose and treating nature like it relies on. Becoming more self-reliant and not worrying about the things other people are doing around you is very beneficial to leading a healthy lifestyle.

 

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