In the third point, Emerson goes beyond his theories that we use words as signs of things (point 1) and that we find symbolic meanings in things as well as words (point 2) to ask: "Have mountains, and waves, and skies, no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ them as emblems of our thoughts?" Emerson wants to say more than this. It is not just we humans who treat the world as emblematic; the world, says Emerson, is emblematic. "Parts of speech are metaphors because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind." The visible world is, he says in a celebrated metaphor, "the dial plate of the invisible" world. This is the full, Transcendental, Schellingian belief that nature and the human mind are in all things related, that mind is the subjective equivalent of the world, world the objective version of mind. Phrased without German symmetry, this notion is a way of affirming, as the Stoics long ago affirmed, that human beings and nature are both creatures of one set of laws. More recently, Alfred North Whitehead has spoken of the same concept in referring to "the full scientific mentality, which instinctively holds that all things great and small are conceivable as exemplifications of general principles which reign throughout the natural order."
From December 1836 to March 1837 Emerson gave his first series of independent lectures, the first that is, that he designed himself and gave under his own auspices. It was called the Philosophy of History, and it was a very important series for Emerson, since out of it evolved the great essays on "History" and "Self Reliance" that he would publish in his first volume of in 1841. There is also a lecture on "Literature" in the Philosophy of History series, given in January 1837. The general theme of the series is stated in the introductory lecture: "We arrive early at the great discovery that there is one Mind common to all individual men; that what is individual is less than what is universal; that those properties by which you are man are more radical than those by which you are Adam or John; than the individual, nothing is less; than the universal, nothing is greater; that error, vice, and disease have their seat in the superficial or individual nature; that the common nature is whole." Literature, then, is the written record of this mind, and in one important sense literature is always showing us only ourselves. This lecture contains Emerson's most extreme--and least fruitful--statement of his idealist conception of literature. He contrasts art with literature, explaining that while "Art delights in carrying a thought into action, Literature is the conversion of action into thought." In other words, "Literature idealizes action." In an abstract sense this may be so, but Emerson is generally at his best when he sees literature moving us toward action, not away from it. In another place this lecture has a very valuable comment on how literature is able to reach into our unconscious. "Whoever separates for us a truth from our unconscious reason, and makes it an object of consciousness, ... must of course be to us a great man." And there is also a rather uncharacteristic recognition of what Gustav Flaubert would call . "The laws of composition are as strict as those of sculpture and architecture. There is always one line that ought to be chosen, one proportion that should be kept, and every other line or proportion is wrong.... So, in writing, there is always a right word, and every other than that is wrong."
2. "We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul." (Over-soul, from Essays: First Series, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841)
Emerson's father, , the Unitarian minister at Boston's First Church from 1799 until his death in 1811, was an active, popular preacher and a staunch Federalist of very limited means but descended from a long line of Concord, Massachusetts, ministers. Emerson was eight when his father died. His mother, Ruth Haskins Emerson, a quiet, devout, and undemonstrative woman, lived till 1853, long enough to see her fourth child's fame. Emerson had seven siblings. Three died in infancy or childhood. Of those who lived to maturity, Edward died young, at twenty-nine, in 1834 as did Charles at twenty-eight in 1836, while Robert Bulkeley, who lived to age fifty-two, dying in 1859, was feeble-minded. Besides Ralph, only William lived a full and reasonably long life, dying at sixty-seven in 1868.
Free transcendentalism papers, essays, and research papers. Hese results are sorted by most relevant first (ranked search). U may also sort these by color. Emerson Essays Excerpts
Ralph Waldo Emerson was known first as an orator. Emerson converted many of his orations in to essays. A student of Emerson's essays will also want to study Emerson's since he often worked out in his journal entries ideas that later appear in his orations and essays.
it makes plain that those who ascribe to Emerson a "Fall" from his early beliefs are demonstrably in error, prim arily because of their serious misunderstanding of the influence, on Emerson, of Hindu and Buddhist teachings."Given the central importance of Emerson's Transcendentalist movement in America's intellectual history, and its influence upon a few generations of American luminaries, this book is a important corrective to American history and the role of Indic traditions in shaping it.
We find many of Emerson's important essays in this book, including "Self-Reliance," which lays out why we should all, you know, rely on ourselves. "I do what I want" was Emerson's catchphrase.
Individualism, one of the big themes of American Romanticism, was a fav topic of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Check out Emerson's statement on the importance of individualism in his essay "."
Emerson is the chief figure in the American literary movement called Transcendentalism, which was also a philosophical and religious movement. Transcendentalism is complex, drawing upon Platonic, Christian, Stoic, and Hindu thought, but its most immediate affinity is with German Idealism as worked out from Kant to Schelling. Indeed Emerson himself said in a lecture called delivered in December 1841, "What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us, is Idealism." He then described it: "As thinkers, mankind have ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; the first class founding on experience, the second on consciousness; the first class beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second class perceive that the senses are not final, and say, the senses gives us representations of things, but what are the things themselves, they cannot tell. The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances, and the animal wants of man; the idealist on the power of Thought and of Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture." Materialist criticism focuses on facts, on literary history, on the life and mind of the author and his or her intention, and on the text itself. Emerson's ethical and idealist criticism concentrates almost entirely upon the reader and his or her response to a text. Emerson is mainly concerned not with the fact of literary history but with the of literature, with its effects on the reader, and its power or lack of power to move us.
Henceforth, he was secure as a Christian and said he was merely studying Hinduism from a distance as the "other." The post-U-turn Eliot continued to appropriate from Indic traditions and his works have left a permanent shift in Western literature and thought."
Ralph Waldo Emerson helped to popularize the Bhagavad-gita in the West, and many devotees are familiar with his comments on the Gita:
It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us." Biography of Emerson"Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early nineteenth century.