2519 - Emerson: American Character and Identity, Then and Now
Since colonials days, thoughtful Americans have been working on who they are, how they relate to the world outside this country, and what answers to these questions mean for how they are to live, how we are to live. Before William James, Josiah Royce, and John Dewey there were a small group of thinkers in antebellum America, mostly in New England, who called themselves transcendentalists. One of them didn't like the assignation much. He thought much behavior was motivated by fear and produced a crippling conformity. He thought we should be free in thought and spirit and live in harmony with nature. He believed that Truth lies within each of us, and each of us is a part of a universal, an "over-soul" which allows us to transcend the merely mortal.He was Ralph Waldo Emerson. In this class we'll read and discuss as many of Emerson's key essays as practicable and assess their relevance to our situation in America today. Facilitated Discussion
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