Thinkers are divided into two sects, materialists and idealists. The first founding on experience, the second, consciousness, the first beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second perceive that the sense are not final. The materialists insist on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances and the animal wants of man. The idealists insist on the power of thought and of will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture. However, every materialist will be an idealist; but an idealist can never go backward to be a materialist.

In the order of thought, the materialist takes his departure from the external world, and esteems a man as one product of that. The idealist takes his departure from his consciousness, and reckons the world as an appearance. The materialist expects sensible masses, society, government, social art and luxury, establishments, masses, social actions, etc. The idealist respects only what is metaphysical, the rank which things themselves take in his consciousness; not at all size or appearance. Mind is the only reality, of which man and all other natures are better or worse reflectors. For an idealist, nature, literature and history are only subjective phenomena. He does not respect labor, or the products of labor. He does not respect government except as far as it reiterates the law of this mind; nor the church, nor charities, nor arts but hears, as at a vast distance, what they say.

His 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. Everything real is self-existent. Everything divine shares the self-existence of the Deity. All that one calls the world is the shadow of that substance which one is, the perpetual creation of the powers of thought.

The transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration and in ecstasy. He wishes that the spiritual principle should be suffered to demonstrate itself to the end, in all possible applications to the state of man, without admission of anything unspiritual. Thus, the spiritual measure of inspiration is the depth of the thought.