"If a plant cannot live according to his nature, it dies; and so a man" (Emerson, Civil Disobedience, 260). Transcendentalism, as expressed by Emerson, is finding your own way to connect with yourself, who you are, and your peace with yourself. Your necessities. Your desires. Your nature. The only way to truly find your transcendentalism is to create your own path to get there. The two most prominent authorities on the philosophy are Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Father of Transcendentalism", and Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism is comprised of beliefs regarding many different, yet connected concepts, such as simplicity, societal conformity, and self-reliance.
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity" (Thoreau, Walden, 253). Simplicity is one of the most basic ideals of transcendentalism. Thoreau saw that most lives were becoming consumed in the mindless details of the modern world. In order to defeat this, he decided he had to leave everything behind that was not absolutely necessary. When Thoreau moved to Walden Pond, it was to connect with nature, rely on his own self, but mostly to simplify all that he did not need to have. Thoreau despised how much was being wasted on meaningless specifics. "Our life is frittered away by detail" (Thoreau, Walden, 252). Because one of the main purposes of transcendentalism is to focus on what you need, instead of what you are told you need, simplicity is key. All unnecessary traditions and customs, that never applied to you or your beliefs in the first place, should be cast aside, and you should only do what is necessary for you to survive and achieve your transcendentalism. This whole concept means cutting back what is just a meaningless action or luxury. "Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary, eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion" (Thoreau, Walden, 253). Do not simply eat three meals because that is what you have been told is the right way.