This is actually the first time, comrades, that I call upon my Chabad or otherwise Chasidic readers (if, in fact, there are any (can't be too sure you know)) to explain to me the meaning of Chasidut (according to it's early literature) as they see it.
I ask because, as I was awaking today, I found the subject strangely caught in my mind. It's not a new question to me though, and I have the same question in regards to the mussar movement. Both seemed not to be creating anything new. There was mussar before Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, and there was Kabalah and simcha and whatever else before Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov. I've always wondered what novel ideas the early Chasidic works (such as the Toldot Yaakov Yosef, the Likutei Moharan, the Likutei Amarim, the Noam Elimelech for example) had in common. I obviously have some ideas, but I still feel my comprehension is lacking when I see people who are passionate about it, and don't understand them. ..the truth is I don't understand the passion of the "Na-Nach" people either, but I don't feel that's due to a lack in my comprehension..
I know it would obviously be better for me to do a little research myself, but it is written "מפי סופרים ולא מפי ספרים", and here on the blogs we have כמה וכמה תלמידי חכמים בתורת הנגלה ובתורת הנסתר, צורבי מרבנן דלא פסקי פומייהו מאורייתא, so why not ask..