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Emersons 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 in all of nature and in individuals of every walk of life Emerson stresses the potential for genius and creativity in all people It is a source of creative insight within which Emerson identifies as divine His praise for Plato can easily be found in his work He says that Mind is the only reality of which men and all other natures are better or worse reflectors For Emerson intuition is a poetic faculty of seeing things creatively Nothing is possible within our distinctively human world without such creative insight and interpretation Therefore Emerson calls for us to always be prepared to listen to this voice within instead of conforming to societal pressures The theme of Self-Reliance is an elaboration of this idealist theme -- we are to follow our own lights The Over-soul the only prophet of that which must be is that great nature in which we rest It is both the act of seeing and the thing seen and it creates our world in depth by means of our insight and interpretations Emersons great emphasis upon nonconformity and integrity shows that this Over-soul creates a world through individuals rather than through the commerce of groups Where we find beauty in a flower or a forest or a poem meaning and direction or deep understanding the voice of this deity is speaking through us and creating the world around us by such means This deity does not speak to groups but in radical protestant style to each
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