Transcendentalism VS Anti-Transendentalism

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Transcendentalism VS Anti-Transendentalism

Post  Joshua on Tue May 12, 2009 11:13 pm

Emerson's work differed from Thoreau's in that Thoreau took Emerson's great transcendentalism and simplified it to his own interpretation. By doing so, Thoreau put those ideas into practise. However, their ideas are very similar, they are all basis of the transcendentalism. Melville though is very different from those ideas of Emerson and Thoreau, although he does show a great deal of transcendentalism in his works, but they end up in Anti-transcendentalism towards the end of his work.

Melville showed great deal of transcendentalism ideas at the start of the Moby-Dick excerpt. Captain Ahab shows great individualism and great courage in determination. With this great courage, he is not put off when he was hurt, but he got stronger and stronger and never gave up on his ideas. Ahab believed in the unlimited human potential, this is why he kept his hopes and never gave up. He showed transcendentalism in the unlimited human potential. The story emphasized on the great unknown of nature and its power, where human powers of society does not apply. These ideas are totally inline with the beliefs of the transcendentalism, where one searches into oneself and understand the unlimited human potential. However, Melville soon parted with the transcendentalism ideas and went into anti-transcendentalism as Ahab approaches his death and encounter with Moby-dick.

Ahab loses himself and is no longer clear about what is ego-mind driven and what is the being. He is overwhelmed by hatred and revenge.This is the anti-transcendentalism idea of the presence of evil within each individual where it interferes with the dicisions that humans make. How our inner being is not neccesarily good, but are also composed with the negative qualities of hatred and revenge. Not only is this negative parts in the human essence not mentioned in Emerson and THoreau where they believed that the inner essence is composed of goodness where we may see clearly and get driven into the goods, Melville shows that the transcend into the higher beings in reaching for the greater spirit may be positve but also negative. In Ahab's example, his desire and push from the innerself of unlimited potential (although to prove this he tried to kill the whale) as well as the revenge desire from the ego mind he fell and eventually died from such desires. Melville aslo addresses the distance between the physical possibilities and the thoughts.

Basically, Melville showed and argued that there is a dark side and ever presenting evil, which messes with our decisions and weakens our determination. Melville presents the dark side and the negative sides of the transcendentalism ideas. Just as Hawthorne did, he showed transcendentalism in the characters and their believes, however, he also shows the negative sides and the prevailing evil in people, thus, being an anti-transcendentalist and gives the book a more tragic ending.

Hawthorne and Melville went into a different direction wif Emerson's ideas and considered the dark sides of the ideas and the world.
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Joshua

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Re: Transcendentalism VS Anti-Transendentalism

Post  Emily Y on Tue May 12, 2009 11:45 pm

awesome, deep critical thinking skills Very Happy
I learned quite a lot from your post because you were very into depth with Melville's Moby-Dick. I hadn't really noticed the individualism Melville portrayed in Ahab, his strength despite his handicap and his belief in his unlimited human possiblilities seen through his tenacity in the pursuit of Moby-Dick.
Thanks for your insights!
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Re: Transcendentalism VS Anti-Transendentalism

Post  Kenny on Wed May 13, 2009 12:15 am

Emily Y wrote:awesome, deep critical thinking skills Very Happy
I learned quite a lot from your post because you were very into depth with Melville's Moby-Dick. I hadn't really noticed the individualism Melville portrayed in Ahab, his strength despite his handicap and his belief in his unlimited human possiblilities seen through his tenacity in the pursuit of Moby-Dick.
Thanks for your insights!

I TOLD you it was a good story -_- josh agrees too.

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Re: Transcendentalism VS Anti-Transendentalism

Post  soph on Wed May 13, 2009 12:39 am

it also said (in the textbook) that Captain Ahab seeks the spiritual reality behind experience and wanted to know the ultimate meaning of existence. so i guess that just proves how Melville does tend to lean towards the transcendental side a little in his portrayal of Captain Ahab and what is presented through Ahab's actions and beliefs. ^^

soooooo PROFOUND... hehe
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