And RationalismRomanticism began in the mid-18th century and reached its height in the 19thcentury. The Romantic literature of the nineteenth century holds in its topicsthe ideals of the time period, concentrating on emotion, nature, and theexpression of “nothing. ” The Romantic era was one that focused on thecommonality of humankind and, while using emotion and nature; the poets andtheir works shed light on people’s universal natures.
Romanticism as a movementdeclined in the late 19th century and early 20th century with the growingdominance of Realism in the literature and the rapid advancement of science andtechnology. However, Romanticism was very impressionative on most individualsduring its time. Rationalism or Realism was erected during the mid 19th century. Realism are ideas that are brought up in philosophical thinking. The realisticmovement of the late 19th century saw authors accurately depict life and it’sproblems.Order now
Realists attempted to give a comprehensive picture of modern life bypresenting the entire picture. They did not try to give one view of life butinstead attempted to show the different classes, manners, and stratification oflife. The Rationalist recognizes that they must master their own destiny, usingtheir unique powers of reason and the scientific method to solve problems. Suchauthors that represent these two eras are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry DavidThoreau, William Wordsworth and Charles Darwin.
Romantics believed that oneneeded to understand nature to understand oneself. In other words, only throughnature could one discover who they are. Emerson shows this in his writing called”Nature”. In the exert “. .
. man beholds somewhat as beautiful ashis own nature. ” This depicts Emerson’s feelings toward nature; view natureas you view yourself. If one views nature as caring and compassionate, one willalso see themselves as caring and compassionate. Similarly if you understandnature you will know yourself better. As one gains wisdom from nature, onebegins to realize that understanding is a gate way to the divine as well as tooneself.
Other writers also agreed with this notion of nature. In the essay”Walden” by Thoreau, Thoreau had left society to move into a shelteroutside of his town. By living on only the necessities he lived his life assimple as he could, thus finding the divine within himself. By being separatefrom society and being one with yourself are the only ways one can find thedivine. Thoreau felt by doing this society would have a harder time to mold himinto what it wanted him to think.
Thoreau left a life of luxury for”voluntary poverty”. Even though he was “poorer in his outwardriches” he was wealthy in his “inward riches”. A good number ofromantic views of Nature suggested using Nature as ones tool to learn. This isevident in William Wordsworth’s poem “The Tables Turned. In the poem”The Tables Turned” Wordsworth states to “quit your books a dull and endless strife enough of Science; close up those barrenleaves.
” Wordsworth believed piece that books were useless to learn from. He believed that we should “Let Nature be Teacher . . . mayteach you more of man moral good and evil than all the sagescan.
” Wordsworth agreed with the previous notion that to understand thedivine and oneself, they must first start with understanding Nature. This Viewof studying Nature is taken one step further by Charles Darwin. Perhaps the mostappealing quality of Darwin’s work was that it accounted for phenomenon in apurely naturalistic manner. It was the most scientific explanation yet,completely removing the supernatural explanation, and setting him apart from thetheorists before him.
The major unsettled scientific question of Darwin’s Theorywas be in regards to natural selection as the mechanism for change, which becamethe issue among the general public as well. It took several years for the ideaof natural selection to become accepted within the scientific community. Darwin’s work was not immediately accepted as science. In a sense, he wasrevolutionary, not just for proposing an explanation of evolution that removedthe supernatural element, but also for the fact that he was able to present hisideas to the scientific community in an unconventional manner, throughspeculative thought.
The essential idea in Darwinian evolutionary thought isthat species are not immutable. The prevailing assumption prior to Darwin wasthat species were immutable ( i. e. fixed in their characteristics). This ideawas held in opposition to the evidence that humans had been doing selectivebreeding on cattle, horses, birds, fruit and cereal crops for millennia. It washeld for perhaps two distinct reasons.
The first was the fact that in spite ofcenturies of breeding – cattle, horses, birds, etc. retained their ‘essential’characteristics. Cattle did not become fish and horses did not become snakes. The characteristics which breeders could modify were seen as inessential andincapable of transforming one species in to another.
. The second reason was theBible. Species were equated with the kinds mentioned in Genesis and it wassimply assumed that only God could create new species. If Darwin’s hypothesiswas true, then the Bible must be an unbearable fiction. Darwin’s theory requiredpeople to disbelieve the authoritative word of the Creator.
Every idea of theHoly Scriptures, from the first to the last page stood in diametrical oppositionto the Darwinian theory. Many people of the time strongly felt that the idea ofcreation belongs to religion and not to natural science. The wholesuperstructure of personal religion was built on the doctrine of creation. Therationalist attitude is characterized by the importance it attaches to argumentand experience.
But neither logical argument nor experience can establish therationalist attitude; for only those who are ready to consider argument andexperience, and who have therefore adopted this stance already are likely to beimpressed by them. In other words, a rationalist stance must first be adopted ifany argument or experience is to be effective, and it cannot therefore be basedupon argument or experience. No rational argument will have a rational effect onsomebody who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.