Emerson's "transcendentalism" is essentially a romantic individualism, a philosophy of life for a new people who had overthrown their colonial governors and set about conquering a new continent by their own lights. Though Emerson is not a technical philosopher, the tendency of his thought is toward idealist metaphysics in which soul and intuition, or inspiration, are central. The new American experiment needed every idea within its reach. Taking a practical and democratic, yet poetic interest
showed first 75 words of 1490 total
showed last 75 words of 1490 total
of human expression and suited to intelligent cultivation of the best in others.
Though "the sensual man conforms thoughts to things, the poet conforms things to his thoughts.” Emerson succeeded in conforming generations of Americans to his thought. Now, in an age where conformity is used in commercials as an advertising gimmick, Emerson would probably offer the following: “Your conformity explains
nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now.”