* The Greek Philosopher Plato developed the philosophical concept of transcendence.
* The verb “to transcend” means “to go beyond” something. In Transcendentalism, it meant that there are truths that go beyond, or transcend, proof. These were truths that were simply “known” but could not be proved with logic. These truths were a private experience of faith and conviction.
* The German philosopher Immanual Kant gave Transcendentalism its name.
* Kant, with other German thinkers, influenced the views of some important English writers; the poet-critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and the Scottish philosopher-historian Thomas Carlyle. These three, especially Carlyle, exchanged ideas with Ralph Waldo Emerson of Concord, MA.
* It was Emerson who brought the movement to New England and nurtured its growth in this country.
* American Transcendentalism thus began in the 1840’s as Emerson interacted with Longfellow, Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thoreau and Lowell. This influential group of people were all born within a few years and a few miles of each other in New England.
* Transcendentalism was the beginning of American interest in Oriental thought. Emerson and his friends read the Hindus, Confucius, Buddha and the Mohammedan Sufis. The Bhagavad-Gita was very influential to Emerson.
* Transcendentalism became an eclectic composite of Oriental, Greek, English, French, German, and native thought.
* Transcendentalism is a belief there is a higher reality and greater knowledge than that manifested in human mind. It divides reality into a realm of spirit and a realm of matter. This division is made by many of the great religions of the world.
Major Influences in Science of Mind
There are four creative thinkers that greatly influenced Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) as he moved along his spiritual path and developed Science of Mind. They were
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished New England philosopher and essayist (1803-1852)
- Thomas Troward, an eminent British jurist and metaphysician (1847-1916)b
- Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a mental healer (1802-1866)
- Emma Curtis Hopkins, a greatly respected American teacher and mystic, often called the “teacher of teachers” (1853-1925)