Transcendentalism and realism are two different ways of looking at the world. Transcendentalism is based on the belief that there is a spiritual world beyond what we can see and touch. Realism believes that the only reality is what we can see with our own eyes. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of these two concepts in more detail.
What is Transcendentalism?
Transcendentalism is a philosophy that promotes reaching beyond the limitations of one’s existing knowledge or experience. The word “transcend” comes from the Latin term “transcend,” which means to climb over or past. The goal of this movement was to “climb above” traditional empirical thinking, favoring a person’s intuition and natural spirituality. [Source].
Transcendentalists are religious people who believe in the existence of God, and they encourage people to have a personal relationship with God. They also emphasize the need to respect nature and God’s power in controlling how we live in this world. Transcendentalism is criticized for depending too heavily on religion instead of considering other factors which affect humanity. It focuses on self-reliance, a state which ensures that an individual relies on himself and will not be a burden to others. Another core value of transcendentalists is a belief in the goodness of humanity and a greater purpose of creation.
What is Realism?
Realism is the practice of accepting a situation and being prepared to deal with it. [Source]. Realism is a “tenet” that views the world as it is and not in terms of an unrealized ideal. This quote stresses the importance of being practical and responsible in the real world. Applied to international politics, realism sees a conflict-ridden world of states concerned mostly with their security, struggling for advantage, sometimes seeking dominance, and therefore pursuing power as the means to assure these” [Source].
Realists are divided into three categories based on their views on essential causes of interstate conflict.
The categories include:
- Classical realists believe that interstate conflict follows human nature.
- Neorealists attribute it to the dynamics of the anarchic state system.
- Neoclassical realists believe it results from both in combination with domestic politics.
Neorealists are further divided into defensive and offensive realism [Source].
Similarities between Transcendentalism and Realism
Realism and transcendentalism allow readers to reflect on themselves and how their consciences justify their actions in the real world.
The similarities between Transcendentalism and realism are that they both:
- Focus on individuals and their interactions
- Promote growth and change
- Encourage people to be themselves
- Believe in a higher power
Difference between Transcendentalism and Realism
Transcendentalism attempts to understand reality by looking beyond what we can see. In contrast, realism believes that you should accept things as they are and find ways to deal with the situation. Transcendentalists are involved in religious beliefs and God who controls humans’ life, while realists can be either religious or atheistic. Most realists do not support the idea of escapism and want people to confront the truth. This will train them to tackle severe obstacles in life.
Transcendentalists believe that God plays a role in dictating our reality and has a purpose for everything. Such a perspective means that our reality can be deduced from what we see but from biblical things and the power of deities and our environment.
Realists portray believable events and characters, and transcendentalists are interested in events beyond reason. Transcendentalism shows the “concept of finding the truth that exists beyond experience and reason. Thus, showing that the truth can be proven without hardcore evidence”, realism “portrays realistic imagery of the real world by revealing the incidents of everyday life in literature” [Source].