"But life is good only when it is magical and musical, a perfect timing and consent, and when we do not anatomize it. You must treat the days respectfully, you must be a day yourself, and not interrogate it like a college professor. The world is enigmatical, - everything said, and everything known or done, - and must not be taken literally, but genially. We must be at the top of our condition to understand anything rightly. You must hear the bird’s song without attempting to render it into nouns and verbs."
May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882 }
Anonymous asked: You seen this? Looks like they're going to post the complete works or something. http://rwemerson.tumblr.com/
Good to hear from you! I hadn’t seen it, but I’m certainly happy somebody’s taking up that project. Emerson everyplace! Emerson for everyone!
The selections I tend to post are thoughts which stood out to me in my own reading (and I admit, I lean toward sharing the more-quotable ones, as they’re often more dynamic for sharing with people unfamiliar with his other works). Originally, this was an effort to find passages equally compelling as the few that are renowned and distributed; there are massive, powerful sections that will inevitably evade my attention, however, and if anyone is interested in reading Emerson’s works in full I would be among the first to encourage it! On that note, if you haven’t got a paper copy on hand to doodle in, www.rwe.org has got a complete archive.
I am excited to check out rwemerson.tumblr in more detail, of course. Thanks for the heads-up.
"Men of genius in general are, more than others, incapable of any perfect exhibition, because however agreeable it may be to them to act on the public, it is always a secondary aim. They are humble, self-accusing, moody men, whose worship is toward the Ideal Beauty, which chooses to be courted not so often in perfect hymns, as in wild ear-piercing ejaculations, or in silent musings. Their face is forward, and their heart is in this heaven. By so much are they disqualified for a perfect success in any particular performance to which they can give only a divided affection."
"Idealism sees the world in God. It beholds the whole circle of persons and things, of actions and events, of country and religion, not as painfully accumulated, atom after atom, act after act, in an aged creeping Past, but as one vast picture, which God paints on the instant eternity, for the contemplation of the soul. Therefore the soul holds itself off from a too trivial and microscopic study of the universal tablet. It respects the end too much, to immerse itself in the means."
"The advantage of the ideal theory over the popular faith, is this, that it presents the world in precisely that view which is most desirable to the mind. It is, in fact, the view which Reason, both speculative and practical, that is, philosophy and virtue, take. For, seen in the light of thought, the world always is phenomenal; and virtue subordinates it to the mind."
"I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons. Let us speak her fair."
"Ethics and religion differ herein; that the one is the system of human duties commencing from man; the other, from God. Religion includes the personality of God; Ethics does not. They are one to our present design. They both put nature under foot."
"We become physically nimble and lightsome; we tread on air; life is no longer irksome, and we think it will never be so. No man fears age or misfortune or death, in their serene company, for he is transported out of the district of change. Whilst we behold unveiled the nature of Justice and Truth, we learn the difference between the absolute and the conditional or relative. We apprehend the absolute. As it were, for the first time, we exist. We become immortal, for we learn that time and space are relations of matter; that, with a perception of truth, or a virtuous will, they have no affinity."
"The sensual man conforms thoughts to things; the poet conforms things to his thoughts. The one esteems nature as rooted and fast; the other, as fluid, and impresses his being thereon."
"Hence arises a pleasure mixed with awe; I may say, a low degree of the sublime is felt from the fact, probably, that man is hereby apprized, that, whilst the world is a spectacle, something in himself is stable."
"Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us."
"Enthusiasm is the leaping lightning, not to be measured by the horse-power of the understanding. Hope never spreads her golden wings but on unfathomable seas."