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The concept is rooted in Emerson's readings of eastern philosophies such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Advaita Vadanta school of Hindu philosophy. In addition, Emerson further elaborated the concept of the Over-soul with reference to German idealist and transcendalist philosophy bof the nineteenth century. Emerson devoted an entire essay of the same name to the concept, defining it as
that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart.
The Over-soul allows humankind to grasp the unity of all things which we experience as separate parts in our daily existence. It is the common source of all human, individual selves.
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