Saturday, 9 January 2016


Today I read again (a part of) Emerson's essay on nature.
Emerson was a great observer and here is a wonderful quote of the essay:

"In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows."
Isn't this beautiful and so real? Haven't you experienced this too? 

Here is the beginning of the first chapter (the one after the introduction):
"To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence."

I love to read Emerson. Somehow he strikes a chord with my own way of thinking, with my own connection to the nature and the universe. Every time I read or reread one of his essays or addresses, I discover some new truths, some new ideas in them. His writing style is not easy to understand, at least not for a person with English as second or third language like me. But upon rereading the same thing often a hidden truth comes clear. 

The first paragraph of his introduction this essay is also something that contains some superb wisdom: 
" Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship."

Ignoring the wisdom of our ancestors would be something that pushes us back into the stone age, but ignoring our own conscience and insights and poetry would limit our own development and progress so much, it would be like neglecting the purpose that our Creator gave to  our own lives. 

The essays of this very clever philosopher are freely available online.

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