One of the greatest thinkers of all time who contributed to the Transcendentalist movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. European, Asian, and Greek influences were among the many inspirations in the life of this great philosopher and poet. Many rare and challenging events took place that concluded to the magnificent, but unique, mind of this influential thinker. The many wonderful works of art ranged from his essay, "Nature," expressing the mystical unity of nature, to the meaningful, but hilarious poem, "The Mountain and the Squirrel."
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25, 1803. Seven of his ancestors were ministers, including his father, William of the First Church (Unitarian) of Boston. Emerson attended Harvard University and graduated at the age of 18. For the following three years he taught at a school for ladies. In 1826 he was called to preach and became the minister of the Second Church (Unitarian) of Boston.
Six years later in 1832, Emerson resigned from his pastoral appointment after declaring that he had ceased to regard the Lord's Supper as a permanent sacrament and could not continue to administer it.
After leaving the ministry, Emerson left the United States on a trip to Europe. There he met a number of intellectuals, including Thomas Carlyle and Henry Wordsworth. The ideas of these men, along with those of Plato and the Asian mystics, strongly influenced his development of the philosophy of "Transcendentalism."
To Emerson, Carlyle was the simplest, frank, amiable person. He became aquainted with him at once while they walked over several miles of hills and conversed upon all of the great questions that interested them the most. Emerson admired Carlyle's genius of not pretending to have solved the great mysteries and problems, but to be an observer of their solution as it...