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Nature (1836)

Nature Background
"Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?"
"Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul."
"The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence."
"In the woods, we return to reason and faith."
"Whoever considers the final cause of the world, will discern a multitude of usesthat result. They all admit of being thrown into one of the following classes; Commodity; Beauty; Language; and Discipline. Under the general name of Commodity, I rank all those advantages which our senses owe to nature."
"The useful arts are reproductions or new combinations by the wit of man, of the same natural benefactors. He no longer waits for favoring gales, but by means of steam, he realizes the fable of Aeolus's bag, and carries the two and thirty winds in the boiler of his boat."
"1. First, the simple perception of natural forms is a delight."
"2. The presence of a higher, namely, of the spiritual element is essential to its perfection. . . . A virtuous man is in unison with her works, and makes the central figure of the visible sphere. "
"3. There is still another aspect under which the beauty of the world may be viewed, namely, as it become s an object of the intellect. Beside the relation of things to virtue, they have a relation to thought. The intellect searches out the absolute order of things as they stand in the mind of God, and without the colors of affection."
"The world thus exists to the soul to satisfy the desire of beauty. This element I call an ultimate end."
"1. Words are signs of natural facts."
"2. Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts."
"3. Nature is the symbol of spirit. . . . Thus; A rolling stone gathers no moss;"
"1. Nature is a discipline of the understanding in intellectual truths."
"2. Sensible objects conform to the premonitions of Reason and reflect the conscience. All things are moral; and in their boundless changes have an unceasing reference to spiritual nature."
"1. Our first institution in the Ideal philosophy is a hint from nature herself. Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us."
"2. In a higher manner, the poet communicates the same pleasure."
"3. Whilst thus the poet animates nature with his own thoughts, he differs from the philosopher only herein, that the one proposes Beauty as his main end; the other Truth. But the philosopher, not less than the poet, postpones the apparent order and relations of things to the empire of thought."
"4. Intellectual science has been observed to beget invariably a doubt of the existence of matter. . . . We become immortal, for we learn that time and space are relations of matter; that, with a perception of truth, or a virtuous will, they have no affinity."
"5. Finally, religion and ethics, which may be fitly called, -- the practice of ideas, or the introduction of ideas into life, -- have an analogous effect with all lower culture, in degrading nature and suggesting its dependence on spirit."
"We learn that the highest is present to the soul of man, that the dread universal essence, which is not wisdom, or love, or beauty, or power, but all in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and that by which they are; that spirit creates; that behind nature, throughout nature, spirit is present; one and not compound, it does not act upon us from without, that is, in space and time, but spiritually, or through ourselves: therefore, that spirit, that is, the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us, as the life of the tree puts forth new branches and leaves through the pores of the old."
"In inquiries respecting the laws of the world and the frame of things, the highest reason is always the truest."
"The problem of restoring to the world original and eternal beauty, is solved by the redemption of the soul."
"The immobility or bruteness of nature, is the absence of spirit; to pure spirit, it is fluid, it is volatile, it is obedient."

The Transcendentalist (Adelaide Univ. E-book)

"What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us, is Idealism . . ."
"The idealist, in speaking of events, sees them as spirits."
"But ask him [the materialist] why he believes that an uniform experience will continue uniform, or on what grounds he founds his faith in his figures, and he will perceive that his mental fabric is built up on just as strange and quaking foundations as his proud edifice of stone."
"Mind is the only reality, of which men and all other natures are better or worse reflectors. Nature, literature, history, are only subjective phenomena."
"From this transfer of the world into the consciousness, this beholding of all things in the mind, follow easily his whole ethics. It is simpler to be self-dependent. The height, the deity of man is, to be self-sustained, to need no gift, no foreign force. Society is good when it does not violate me; but best when it is likest to solitude. Everything real is self-existent. Everything divine shares the self-existence of Deity."
"It is well known to most of my audience, that the Idealism of the present day acquired the name of Transcendental, from the use of that term by Immanuel Kant, of Konigsberg, who replied to the skeptical philosophy of Locke, which insisted that there was nothing in the intellect which was not previously in the experience of the senses, by showing that there was a very important class of ideas, or imperative forms, which did not come by experience, but through which experience was acquired; that these were intuitions of the mind itself; and he denominated them Transcendental forms."
"But this class are not sufficiently characterized, if we omit to add that they are lovers and worshippers of Beauty."
"In our Mechanics’ Fair, there must be not only bridges, ploughs, carpenters’ planes, and baking troughs, but also some few finer instruments, -- raingauges, thermometers, and telescopes; and in society, besides farmers, sailors, and weavers, there must be a few persons of purer fire kept specially as gauges and meters of character; persons of a fine, detecting instinct, who betray the smallest accumulations of wit and feeling in the bystander."
"-- will you not tolerate one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for thoughts and principles not marketable or perishable?"

Character (

"This is a natural power, like light and heat, and all nature cooperates with it. The reason why we feel one man's presence, and do not feel another's, is as simple as gravity. Truth is the summit of being: justice is the application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale, according to the purity of this element in them. The will of the pure runs down from them into other natures, as water runs down from a higher into a lower vessel. This natural force is no more to be withstood, than any other natural force."
"Will is the north, action the south pole. Character may be ranked as having its natural place in the north. It shares the magnetic currents of the system. The feeble souls are drawn to the south or negative pole."
"If I quake, what matters it what I quake at?"

The Over-Soul (1841)

Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact calculator has no prescience that somewhat incalculable may not balk the very next moment. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.