emerson history essay summary

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Emerson history essay summary mass communication thesis title

Emerson history essay summary

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.

This human mind wrote history, and this must read it. The Sphinx must solve her own riddle. If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time. As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours.

Of the universal mind each individual man is one more incarnation. All its properties consist in him. Each new fact in his private experience flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises of his life refer to national crises. Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind, and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.

Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be a private opinion again, it will solve the problem of the age. The fact narrated must correspond to something in me to be credible or intelligible. We as we read must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner, must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly. What befell Asdrubal or Caesar Borgia is as much an illustration of the mind's powers and depravations as what has befallen us.

Each new law and political movement has meaning for you. Stand before each of its tablets and say, 'Under this mask did my Proteus nature hide itself. This throws our actions into perspective: and as crabs, goats, scorpions, the balance, and the waterpot lose their meanness when hung as signs in the zodiac, so I can see my own vices without heat in the distant persons of Solomon , Alcibiades , and Catiline.

It is the universal nature which gives worth to particular men and things. Human life as containing this is mysterious and inviolable, and we hedge it round with penalties and laws. All laws derive hence their ultimate reason; all express more or less distinctly some command of this supreme, illimitable essence. Property also holds of the soul, covers great spiritual facts, and instinctively we at first hold to it with swords and laws, and wide and complex combinations.

The obscure consciousness of this fact is the light of all our day, the claim of claims; the plea for education, for justice, for charity, the foundation of friendship and love, and of the heroism and grandeur which belong to acts of self-reliance. It is remarkable that involuntarily we always read as superior beings. Universal history, the poets, the romancers, do not in their stateliest pictures--in the sacerdotal , the imperial palaces, in the triumphs of will or of genius--anywhere lose our ear, anywhere make us feel that we intrude, that this is for better men; but rather is it true, that in their grandest strokes we feel most at home.

All that Shakspeare says of the king, yonder slip of a boy that reads in the corner feels to be true of himself. We sympathize in the great moments of history, in the great discoveries, the great resistances, the great prosperities of men;--because there law was enacted, the sea was searched, the land was found, or the blow was struck for us, as we ourselves in that place would have done or applauded. We have the same interest in condition and character.

We honor the rich, because they have externally the freedom, power, and grace which we feel to be proper to man, proper to us. So all that is said of the wise man by Stoic, or oriental or modern essayist, describes to each reader his own idea, describes his unattained but attainable self. All literature writes the character of the wise man.

Books, monuments, pictures, conversation, are portraits in which he finds the lineaments he is forming. The silent and the eloquent praise him and accost him, and he is stimulated wherever he moves as by personal allusions. A true aspirant, therefore, never needs look for allusions personal and laudatory in discourse. He hears the commendation, not of himself, but more sweet, of that character he seeks, in every word that is said concerning character, yea, further, in every fact and circumstance,--in the running river and the rustling corn.

Praise is looked, homage tendered, love flows from mute nature, from the mountains and the lights of the firmament. These hints, dropped as it were from sleep and night, let us use in broad day. The student is to read history actively and not passively; to esteem his own life the text, and books the commentary.

Thus compelled, the Muse of history will utter oracles , as never to those who do not respect themselves. I have no expectation that any man will read history aright, who thinks that what was done in a remote age, by men whose names have resounded far, has any deeper sense than what he is doing to-day. The world exists for the education of each man. There is no age or state of society or mode of action in history, to which there is not somewhat corresponding in his life.

Every thing tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him. He should see that he can live all history in his own person. He must sit solidly at home, and not suffer himself to be bullied by kings or empires, but know that he is greater than all the geography and all the government of the world; he must transfer the point of view from which history is commonly read, from Rome and Athens and London to himself, and not deny his conviction that he is the court, and if England or Egypt have any thing to say to him, he will try the case; if not, let them for ever be silent.

He must attain and maintain that lofty sight where facts yield their secret sense, and poetry and annals are alike. The instinct of the mind, the purpose of nature, betrays itself in the use we make of the signal narrations of history. Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts.

No anchor, no cable, no fences, avail to keep a fact a fact. Babylon, Troy, Tyre, Palestine, and even early Rome, are passing already into fiction. The Garden of Eden, the sun standing still in Gibeon , is poetry thenceforward to all nations.

Who cares what the fact was, when we have made a constellation of it to hang in heaven an immortal sign? London and Paris and New York must go the same way. I will not make more account of them. I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Asia, Italy, Spain, and the Islands,--the genius and creative principle of each and of all eras in my own mind. We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here.

All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself,--must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. What the former age has epitomized into a formula or rule for manipular convenience, it will lose all the good of verifying for itself, by means of the wall of that rule. Somewhere, sometime, it will demand and find compensation for that loss by doing the work itself.

Ferguson discovered many things in astronomy which had long been known. The better for him. History must be this or it is nothing. Every law which the state enacts indicates a fact in human nature; that is all. We must in ourselves see the necessary reason of every fact,--see how it could and must be. So stand before every public and private work; before an oration of Burke , before a victory of Napoleon, before a martyrdom of Sir Thomas More , of Sidney , of Marmaduke Robinson , before a French Reign of Terror, and a Salem hanging of witches , before a fanatic Revival, and the Animal Magnetism in Paris, or in Providence.

We assume that we under like influence should be alike affected, and should achieve the like; and we aim to master intellectually the steps, and reach the same height or the same degradation, that our fellow, our proxy, has done. All inquiry into antiquity,--all curiosity respecting the Pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio Circles, Mexico, Memphis,--is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now.

Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are now.

A Gothic cathedral affirms that it was done by us, and not done by us. Surely it was by man, but we find it not in our man. But we apply ourselves to the history of its production. We put ourselves into the place and state of the builder. We remember the forest-dwellers, the first temples, the adherence to the first type, and the decoration of it as the wealth of the nation increased; the value which is given to wood by carving led to the carving over the whole mountain of stone of a cathedral.

When we have gone through this process, and added thereto the Catholic Church, its cross, its music, its processions, its Saints' days and image-worship, we have, as it were, been the man that made the minster; we have seen how it could and must be. We have the sufficient reason. The difference between men is in their principle of association. Some men classify objects by color and size and other accidents of appearance; others by intrinsic likeness, or by the relation of cause and effect.

The progress of the intellect is to the clearer vision of causes, which neglects surface differences. To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.

For the eye is fastened on the life, and slights the circumstance. Every chemical substance, every plant, every animal in its growth, teaches the unity of cause, the variety of appearance. Upborne and surrounded as we are by this all-creating nature, soft and fluid as a cloud or the air, why should we be such hard pedants, and magnify a few forms? Why should we make account of time, or of magnitude, or of figure? The soul knows them not, and genius, obeying its law, knows how to play with them as a young child plays with graybeards and in churches.

Genius studies the causal thought, and, far back in the womb of things, sees the rays parting from one orb, that diverge ere they fall by infinite diameters. Genius watches the monad through all his masks as he performs the metempsychosis of nature. Genius detects through the fly, through the caterpillar, through the grub, through the egg, the constant individual; through countless individuals, the fixed species; through many species, the genus; through all genera, the steadfast type; through all the kingdoms of organized life, the eternal unity.

Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same. She casts the same thought into troops of forms, as a poet makes twenty fables with one moral. Through the bruteness and toughness of matter, a subtle spirit bends all things to its own will.

The adamant streams into soft but precise form before it, and, whilst I look at it, its outline and texture are changed again. Nothing is so fleeting as form; yet never does it quite deny itself. In man we still trace the remains or hints of all that we esteem badges of servitude in the lower races; yet in him they enhance his nobleness and grace; as Io, in Aeschylus, transformed to a cow, offends the imagination; but how changed, when as Isis in Egypt she meets Osiris-Jove, a beautiful woman, with nothing of the metamorphosis left but the lunar horns as the splendid ornament of her brows!

The identity of history is equally intrinsic, the diversity equally obvious. There is at the surface infinite variety of things; at the centre there is simplicity of cause. How many are the acts of one man in which we recognize the same character!

Observe the sources of our information in respect to the Greek genius. We have the civil history of that people, as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch have given it; a very sufficient account of what manner of persons they were, and what they did. We have the same national mind expressed for us again in their literature, in epic and lyric poems, drama, and philosophy; a very complete form.

Then we have it once more in their architecture, a beauty as of temperance itself, limited to the straight line and the square,--a builded geometry. Then we have it once again in sculpture, the "tongue on the balance of expression," a multitude of forms in the utmost freedom of action, and never transgressing the ideal serenity; like votaries performing some religious dance before the gods, and, though in convulsive pain or mortal combat, never daring to break the figure and decorum of their dance.

Thus, of the genius of one remarkable people, we have a fourfold representation: and to the senses what more unlike than an ode of Pindar , a marble centaur , the peristyle of the Parthenon , and the last actions of Phocion?

Every one must have observed faces and forms which, without any resembling feature, make a like impression on the beholder. A particular picture or copy of verses, if it do not awaken the same train of images, will yet superinduce the same sentiment as some wild mountain walk, although the resemblance is nowise obvious to the senses, but is occult and out of the reach of the understanding. Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws.

She hums the old well-known air through innumerable variations. Nature is full of a sublime family likeness throughout her works; and delights in startling us with resemblances in the most unexpected quarters. I have seen the head of an old sachem of the forest, which at once reminded the eye of a bald mountain summit, and the furrows of the brow suggested the strata of the rock.

There are men whose manners have the same essential splendor as the simple and awful sculpture on the friezes of the Parthenon , and the remains of the earliest Greek art. And there are compositions of the same strain to be found in the books of all ages. What is Guido's Rospigliosi Aurora but a morning thought, as the horses in it are only a morning cloud.

If any one will but take pains to observe the variety of actions to which he is equally inclined in certain moods of mind, and those to which he is averse, he will see how deep is the chain of affinity. A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely,--but, by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature, and can then draw him at will in every attitude.

So Roos "entered into the inmost nature of a sheep. In a certain state of thought is the common origin of very diverse works. It is the spirit and not the fact that is identical. By a deeper apprehension, and not primarily by a painful acquisition of many manual skills, the artist attains the power of awakening other souls to a given activity. It has been said, that "common souls pay with what they do; nobler souls with that which they are.

Because a profound nature awakens in us by its actions and words, by its very looks and manners, the same power and beauty that a gallery of sculpture, or of pictures, addresses. Civil and natural history, the history of art and of literature, must be explained from individual history, or must remain words. There is nothing but is related to us, nothing that does not interest us,--kingdom, college, tree, horse, or iron shoe, the roots of all things are in man. Santa Croce and the Dome of St.

Peter's are lame copies after a divine model. Strasburg Cathedral is a material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach. The true poem is the poet's mind; the true ship is the ship-builder. In the man, could we lay him open, we should see the reason for the last flourish and tendril of his work; as every spine and tint in the sea-shell preexist in the secreting organs of the fish.

The whole of heraldry and of chivalry is in courtesy. A man of fine manners shall pronounce your name with all the ornament that titles of nobility could ever add. The trivial experience of every day is always verifying some old prediction to us, and converting into things the words and signs which we had heard and seen without heed.

A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet. The man who has seen the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight has been present like an archangel at the creation of light and of the world.

I remember one summer day, in the fields, my companion pointed out to me a broad cloud, which might extend a quarter of a mile parallel to the horizon, quite accurately in the form of a cherub as painted over churches,--a round block in the centre, which it was easy to animate with eyes and mouth, supported on either side by wide-stretched symmetrical wings. What appears once in the atmosphere may appear often, and it was undoubtedly the archetype of that familiar ornament.

I have seen in the sky a chain of summer lightning which at once showed to me that the Greeks drew from nature when they painted the thunderbolt in the hand of Jove. I have seen a snow-drift along the sides of the stone wall which obviously gave the idea of the common architectural scroll to abut a tower.

By surrounding ourselves with the original circumstances, we invent anew the orders and the ornaments of architecture, as we see how each people merely decorated its primitive abodes. The Doric temple preserves the semblance of the wooden cabin in which the Dorian dwelt. The Chinese pagoda is plainly a Tartar tent. The Indian and Egyptian temples still betray the mounds and subterranean houses of their forefathers. In these caverns, already prepared by nature, the eye was accustomed to dwell on huge shapes and masses, so that, when art came to the assistance of nature, it could not move on a small scale without degrading itself.

What would statues of the usual size, or neat porches and wings, have been, associated with those gigantic halls before which only Colossi could sit as watchmen, or lean on the pillars of the interior? No one can walk in a road cut through pine woods, without being struck with the architectural appearance of the grove, especially in winter, when the bareness of all other trees shows the low arch of the Saxons.

In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window, with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colors of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.

Nor can any lover of nature enter the old piles of Oxford and the English cathedrals, without feeling that the forest overpowered the mind of the builder, and that his chisel, his saw, and plane still reproduced its ferns, its spikes of flowers, its locust, elm, oak, pine, fir, and spruce. The Gothic cathedral is a blossoming in stone subdued by the insatiable demand of harmony in man. The mountain of granite blooms into an eternal flower, with the lightness and delicate finish, as well as the aerial proportions and perspective, of vegetable beauty.

In like manner, all public facts are to be individualized, all private facts are to be generalized. Then at once History becomes fluid and true, and Biography deep and sublime. As the Persian imitated in the slender shafts and capitals of his architecture the stem and flower of the lotus and palm, so the Persian court in its magnificent era never gave over the nomadism of its barbarous tribes, but travelled from Ecbatana, where the spring was spent, to Susa in summer, and to Babylon for the winter.

In the early history of Asia and Africa, Nomadism and Agriculture are the two antagonist facts. The geography of Asia and of Africa necessitated a nomadic life. But the nomads were the terror of all those whom the soil, or the advantages of a market, had induced to build towns. Agriculture, therefore, was a religious injunction, because of the perils of the state from nomadism.

And in these late and civil countries of England and America, these propensities still fight out the old battle in the nation and in the individual. The nomads of Africa were constrained to wander by the attacks of the gad-fly, which drives the cattle mad, and so compels the tribe to emigrate in the rainy season, and to drive off the cattle to the higher sandy regions. The nomads of Asia follow the pasturage from month to month. In America and Europe, the nomadism is of trade and curiosity; a progress, certainly, from the gad-fly of Astaboras to the Anglo and Italo-mania of Boston Bay.

Sacred cities, to which a periodical religious pilgrimage was enjoined, or stringent laws and customs, tending to invigorate the national bond, were the check on the old rovers; and the cumulative values of long residence are the restraints on the itineracy of the present day.

The antagonism of the two tendencies is not less active in individuals, as the love of adventure or the love of repose happens to predominate. A man of rude health and flowing spirits has the faculty of rapid domestication, lives in his wagon, and roams through all latitudes as easily as a Calmuc.

At sea, or in the forest, or in the snow, he sleeps as warm, dines with as good appetite, and associates as happily, as beside his own chimneys. Or perhaps his facility is deeper seated, in the increased range of his faculties of observation, which yield him points of interest wherever fresh objects meet his eyes. The pastoral nations were needy and hungry to desperation; and this intellectual nomadism, in its excess, bankrupts the mind, through the dissipation of power on a miscellany of objects.

The home-keeping wit, on the other hand, is that continence or content which finds all the elements of life in its own soil; and which has its own perils of monotony and deterioration, if not stimulated by foreign infusions. Every thing the individual sees without him corresponds to his states of mind, and every thing is in turn intelligible to him, as his onward thinking leads him into the truth to which that fact or series belongs.

The primeval world,--the Fore-World, as the Germans say,--I can dive to it in myself as well as grope for it with researching fingers in catacombs, libraries, and the broken reliefs and torsos of ruined villas. What is the foundation of that interest all men feel in Greek history, letters, art, and poetry, in all its periods, from the Heroic or Homeric age down to the domestic life of the Athenians and Spartans, four or five centuries later?

What but this, that every man passes personally through a Grecian period. The Grecian state is the era of the bodily nature, the perfection of the senses,--of the spiritual nature unfolded in strict unity with the body. In it existed those human forms which supplied the sculptor with his models of Hercules, Ph;oebus, and Jove; not like the forms abounding in the streets of modern cities, wherein the face is a confused blur of features, but composed of incorrupt, sharply defined, and symmetrical features, whose eye-sockets are so formed that it would be impossible for such eyes to squint, and take furtive glances on this side and on that, but they must turn the whole head.

Emerson also addresses literature as a means of personalizing and making sense of the past. Characters are the written extensions of human beings, often serving as allegorical archetypes for universal human principles such as pain, truth, or justice.

By studying literature, the individual can come to realize how the universal mind has been developed and preserved throughout the ages. Ultimately, Emerson believes that the personal development and experiences of the individual reflect the same historical patterns at different levels of resolution. Emerson points out that the history of all things is synergistic, as mankind could not have achieved any of its greatest feats without his connection to the rest of the natural world.

Plot Summary. All Symbols The Gothic Cathedral. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. Sign Up. Already have an account? Sign in. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better.

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Civil and ruth haskins emerson letters and for themselves, to dr.

Emerson history essay summary Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent. Every law english coursework language the state enacts indicates a fact in human nature; that is all. Journey cover letter examples online application history of complete essay: history taken by themselves, like a grave; a grave; a grave; ralph waldo emerson letters and manuscript. When we have gone through this process, and added thereto the Catholic Church, its cross, its music, its processions, its Saints' days and image-worship, we have, as it were, been the man that made the minster; we have seen how it could and must be. I will not make more account of them. His address, which advocated intuitive, personal revelation, created such an uproar that he was not invited back to his alma mater for thirty years.
Emerson history essay summary All the record of the individual history of character the complete essay summary. The soul knows them not, and genius, obeying its law, knows how to play with them as a young child plays with graybeards and in emerson history essay summary. The silent and the eloquent praise him and accost him, and he is stimulated wherever he moves as by personal allusions. Everything tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him. In splendid variety these changes come, all putting questions to the human spirit. It cannot be received at second hand.
Latest resume format for managers The moral sentiment is always new, always comes without direct sensory experience. Themes All Themes. Review is the principles of essays: history; ralph waldo emerson later wrote several more books of this mind history, human history summary. I will not now go behind the general statement emerson history essay summary explore the reason of this correspondency. A sparse population and want make every man his own valet, cook, butcher, and soldier, and the habit of supplying his own needs educates the body to wonderful performances.
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Emerson history essay summary Every one must have observed faces and forms which, without any resembling feature, make a like impression on the beholder. How many times in the history of the world has the Luther of the day resume for creatives to lament the decay of piety in his own household! Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent. I see that men of God have, from time to time, walked among men and made their commission felt in the heart and soul of the commonest hearer. Tantalus is but a name for you and me. In the early history of Asia and Africa, Nomadism and Agriculture are the two antagonist facts. America's best known and best-loved emerson history essay summary.
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He returned in late December to Boston, where he preached occasionally. In Concord, New Hampshire, he met Ellen Tucker, a seventeen-year-old poet who also suffered from tuberculosis. The two were married in September , just after Emerson had been ordained pastor of the Second Unitarian Church of Boston.

They were very happy in the marriage, but, unfortunately, both were also quite ill with tuberculosis; in , after less than two years of marriage, Ellen died. By the end of the following year, Emerson had resigned his pastorate at Second Unitarian Church. Among his reasons for resigning were his refusal to administer the sacrament of the Last Supper, which he believed to be an unnecessary theological rite, and his belief that the ministry was an "antiquated profession.

While in Europe, he met many of the leading thinkers of his time, including the economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose Aids to Reflection Emerson admired; the poet William Wordsworth; and Thomas Carlyle, the historian and social critic, with whom Emerson established a lifelong friendship. After his return from Europe in the fall of , Emerson began a career as a public lecturer with an address in Boston.

One of his first lectures, "The Uses of Natural History," attempted to humanize science by explaining that "the whole of Nature is a metaphor or image of the human mind," an observation that he would often repeat. Other lectures followed — on diverse subjects such as Italy, biography, English literature, the philosophy of history, and human culture.

In September , Emerson moved to Concord, Massachusetts, as a boarder in the home of his step-grandfather, Ezra Ripley. On September 14, , he married Lydia Jackson of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and they moved into a house of their own in Concord, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Emerson's first book, Nature , was published anonymously in Although only a slim volume, it contains in brief the whole substance of his thought. It sold very poorly — after twelve years, its first edition of copies had not yet sold out.

A year after he made this speech, he was invited back to Harvard to speak to the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School. His address, which advocated intuitive, personal revelation, created such an uproar that he was not invited back to his alma mater for thirty years. Perhaps Amos Bronson Alcott best summarizes this phase of Emerson's life when he wrote: "Emerson's church consists of one member — himself.

In , Emerson joined the Transcendental Club, and in the ensuing years the group, which included Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Alcott, met often at his home. In , he helped launch The Dial , a journal of literature, philosophy, and religion that focused on transcendentalist views. After the first two years, he succeeded Fuller as its editor.

The Dial was recognized as the official voice of transcendentalism, and Emerson became intimately associated with the movement. Two years later, however, the journal ceased publication. In , Emerson published the first volume of his Essays , a carefully constructed collection of some of his best-remembered writings, including "Self-Reliance" and "The Over-Soul.

Tragedy struck the Emerson family in January when Emerson's son, Waldo, died of scarlet fever. Emerson would later write "Threnody," an elegy expressing his grief for Waldo; the poem was included in his collection Poems Ellen, Edith, and Edward Waldo, his other children, survived to adulthood. In , Emerson again traveled abroad, lecturing in England with success. He renewed his friendship with Carlyle, met other notable English authors, and collected materials for English Traits , which was eventually published in A collection called Addresses and Lectures appeared in , and Representative Men was published in Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself, — must go over the whole ground.

What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. What the former age has epitomized into a formula or rule for manipular convenience, it will lose all the good of verifying for itself, by means of the wall of that rule. Somewhere, sometime, it will demand and find compensation for that loss by doing the work itself. Ferguson discovered many things in astronomy which had long been known. The better for him. History must be this or it is nothing. Every law which the state enacts indicates a fact in human nature; that is all.

We must in ourselves see the necessary reason of every fact, — see how it could and must be. So stand before every public and private work; before an oration of Burke, before a victory of Napoleon, before a martyrdom of Sir Thomas More, of Sidney, of Marmaduke Robinson, before a French Reign of Terror, and a Salem hanging of witches, before a fanatic Revival, and the Animal Magnetism in Paris, or in Providence.

We assume that we under like influence should be alike affected, and should achieve the like; and we aim to master intellectually the steps, and reach the same height or the same degradation, that our fellow, our proxy, has done. All inquiry into antiquity, — all curiosity respecting the Pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio Circles, Mexico, Memphis, — is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place the Here and the Now.

Belzoni digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes, until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motived, and to ends to which he himself should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes through them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are now.

A Gothic cathedral affirms that it was done by us, and not done by us. Surely it was by man, but we find it not in our man. But we apply ourselves to the history of its production. We put ourselves into the place and state of the builder. We remember the forest-dwellers, the first temples, the adherence to the first type, and the decoration of it as the wealth of the nation increased; the value which is given to wood by carving led to the carving over the whole mountain of stone of a cathedral.

When we have gone through this process, and added thereto the Catholic Church, its cross, its music, its processions, its Saints' days and image-worship, we have, as it were, been the man that made the minster; we have seen how it could and must be. We have the sufficient reason. Some men classify objects by color and size and other accidents of appearance; others by intrinsic likeness, or by the relation of cause and effect.

The progress of the intellect is to the clearer vision of causes, which neglects surface differences. To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine. For the eye is fastened on the life, and slights the circumstance. Every chemical substance, every plant, every animal in its growth, teaches the unity of cause, the variety of appearance. Upborne and surrounded as we are by this all-creating nature, soft and fluid as a cloud or the air, why should we be such hard pedants, and magnify a few forms?

Why should we make account of time, or of magnitude, or of figure? The soul knows them not, and genius, obeying its law, knows how to play with them as a young child plays with graybeards and in churches. Genius studies the causal thought, and, far back in the womb of things, sees the rays parting from one orb, that diverge ere they fall by infinite diameters. Genius watches the monad through all his masks as he performs the metempsychosis of nature.

Genius detects through the fly, through the caterpillar, through the grub, through the egg, the constant individual; through countless individuals, the fixed species; through many species, the genus; through all genera, the steadfast type; through all the kingdoms of organized life, the eternal unity. Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same. She casts the same thought into troops of forms, as a poet makes twenty fables with one moral. Through the bruteness and toughness of matter, a subtle spirit bends all things to its own will.

The adamant streams into soft but precise form before it, and, whilst I look at it, its outline and texture are changed again. Nothing is so fleeting as form; yet never does it quite deny itself. In man we still trace the remains or hints of all that we esteem badges of servitude in the lower races; yet in him they enhance his nobleness and grace; as Io, in Aeschylus, transformed to a cow, offends the imagination; but how changed, when as Isis in Egypt she meets Osiris-Jove, a beautiful woman, with nothing of the metamorphosis left but the lunar horns as the splendid ornament of her brows!

There is at the surface infinite variety of things; at the centre there is simplicity of cause. How many are the acts of one man in which we recognize the same character! Observe the sources of our information in respect to the Greek genius. We have the civil history of that people, as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch have given it; a very sufficient account of what manner of persons they were, and what they did.

We have the same national mind expressed for us again in their literature , in epic and lyric poems, drama, and philosophy; a very complete form. Then we have it once more in their architecture , a beauty as of temperance itself, limited to the straight line and the square, — a builded geometry.

Then we have it once again in sculpture , the "tongue on the balance of expression," a multitude of forms in the utmost freedom of action, and never transgressing the ideal serenity; like votaries performing some religious dance before the gods, and, though in convulsive pain or mortal combat, never daring to break the figure and decorum of their dance. Thus, of the genius of one remarkable people, we have a fourfold representation: and to the senses what more unlike than an ode of Pindar, a marble centaur, the peristyle of the Parthenon, and the last actions of Phocion?

Every one must have observed faces and forms which, without any resembling feature, make a like impression on the beholder. A particular picture or copy of verses, if it do not awaken the same train of images, will yet superinduce the same sentiment as some wild mountain walk, although the resemblance is nowise obvious to the senses, but is occult and out of the reach of the understanding.

Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws. She hums the old well-known air through innumerable variations. Nature is full of a sublime family likeness throughout her works; and delights in startling us with resemblances in the most unexpected quarters.

I have seen the head of an old sachem of the forest, which at once reminded the eye of a bald mountain summit, and the furrows of the brow suggested the strata of the rock. There are men whose manners have the same essential splendor as the simple and awful sculpture on the friezes of the Parthenon, and the remains of the earliest Greek art. And there are compositions of the same strain to be found in the books of all ages.

What is Guido's Rospigliosi Aurora but a morning thought, as the horses in it are only a morning cloud. If any one will but take pains to observe the variety of actions to which he is equally inclined in certain moods of mind, and those to which he is averse, he will see how deep is the chain of affinity. A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely, — but, by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature, and can then draw him at will in every attitude.

So Roos "entered into the inmost nature of a sheep. In a certain state of thought is the common origin of very diverse works. It is the spirit and not the fact that is identical. By a deeper apprehension, and not primarily by a painful acquisition of many manual skills, the artist attains the power of awakening other souls to a given activity.

It has been said, that "common souls pay with what they do; nobler souls with that which they are. Because a profound nature awakens in us by its actions and words, by its very looks and manners, the same power and beauty that a gallery of sculpture, or of pictures, addresses. Civil and natural history, the history of art and of literature, must be explained from individual history, or must remain words.

There is nothing but is related to us, nothing that does not interest us, — kingdom, college, tree, horse, or iron shoe, the roots of all things are in man. Santa Croce and the Dome of St. Peter's are lame copies after a divine model.

Strasburg Cathedral is a material counterpart of the soul of Erwin of Steinbach. The true poem is the poet's mind; the true ship is the ship-builder. In the man, could we lay him open, we should see the reason for the last flourish and tendril of his work; as every spine and tint in the sea-shell preexist in the secreting organs of the fish. The whole of heraldry and of chivalry is in courtesy.

A man of fine manners shall pronounce your name with all the ornament that titles of nobility could ever add. The trivial experience of every day is always verifying some old prediction to us, and converting into things the words and signs which we had heard and seen without heed.

A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait , as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.

The man who has seen the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight has been present like an archangel at the creation of light and of the world. I remember one summer day, in the fields, my companion pointed out to me a broad cloud, which might extend a quarter of a mile parallel to the horizon, quite accurately in the form of a cherub as painted over churches, — a round block in the centre, which it was easy to animate with eyes and mouth, supported on either side by wide-stretched symmetrical wings.

What appears once in the atmosphere may appear often, and it was undoubtedly the archetype of that familiar ornament. I have seen in the sky a chain of summer lightning which at once showed to me that the Greeks drew from nature when they painted the thunderbolt in the hand of Jove. I have seen a snow-drift along the sides of the stone wall which obviously gave the idea of the common architectural scroll to abut a tower.

By surrounding ourselves with the original circumstances, we invent anew the orders and the ornaments of architecture, as we see how each people merely decorated its primitive abodes. The Doric temple preserves the semblance of the wooden cabin in which the Dorian dwelt.

The Chinese pagoda is plainly a Tartar tent. The Indian and Egyptian temples still betray the mounds and subterranean houses of their forefathers. In these caverns, already prepared by nature, the eye was accustomed to dwell on huge shapes and masses, so that, when art came to the assistance of nature, it could not move on a small scale without degrading itself. What would statues of the usual size, or neat porches and wings, have been, associated with those gigantic halls before which only Colossi could sit as watchmen, or lean on the pillars of the interior?

The Gothic church plainly originated in a rude adaptation of the forest trees with all their boughs to a festal or solemn arcade, as the bands about the cleft pillars still indicate the green withes that tied them. No one can walk in a road cut through pine woods, without being struck with the architectural appearance of the grove, especially in winter, when the bareness of all other trees shows the low arch of the Saxons.

In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window, with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colors of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest. Nor can any lover of nature enter the old piles of Oxford and the English cathedrals, without feeling that the forest overpowered the mind of the builder, and that his chisel, his saw, and plane still reproduced its ferns, its spikes of flowers, its locust, elm, oak, pine, fir, and spruce.

The Gothic cathedral is a blossoming in stone subdued by the insatiable demand of harmony in man. The mountain of granite blooms into an eternal flower, with the lightness and delicate finish, as well as the aerial proportions and perspective, of vegetable beauty.

In like manner, all public facts are to be individualized, all private facts are to be generalized. Then at once History becomes fluid and true, and Biography deep and sublime. As the Persian imitated in the slender shafts and capitals of his architecture the stem and flower of the lotus and palm, so the Persian court in its magnificent era never gave over the nomadism of its barbarous tribes, but travelled from Ecbatana, where the spring was spent, to Susa in summer, and to Babylon for the winter.

In the early history of Asia and Africa, Nomadism and Agriculture are the two antagonist facts. The geography of Asia and of Africa necessitated a nomadic life. But the nomads were the terror of all those whom the soil, or the advantages of a market, had induced to build towns. Agriculture, therefore, was a religious injunction, because of the perils of the state from nomadism. And in these late and civil countries of England and America, these propensities still fight out the old battle in the nation and in the individual.

The nomads of Africa were constrained to wander by the attacks of the gad-fly, which drives the cattle mad, and so compels the tribe to emigrate in the rainy season, and to drive off the cattle to the higher sandy regions. The nomads of Asia follow the pasturage from month to month. In America and Europe, the nomadism is of trade and curiosity; a progress, certainly, from the gad-fly of Astaboras to the Anglo and Italo-mania of Boston Bay.

Sacred cities, to which a periodical religious pilgrimage was enjoined, or stringent laws and customs, tending to invigorate the national bond, were the check on the old rovers; and the cumulative values of long residence are the restraints on the itineracy of the present day. The antagonism of the two tendencies is not less active in individuals, as the love of adventure or the love of repose happens to predominate. A man of rude health and flowing spirits has the faculty of rapid domestication, lives in his wagon, and roams through all latitudes as easily as a Calmuc.

At sea, or in the forest, or in the snow, he sleeps as warm, dines with as good appetite, and associates as happily, as beside his own chimneys. Or perhaps his facility is deeper seated, in the increased range of his faculties of observation, which yield him points of interest wherever fresh objects meet his eyes. The pastoral nations were needy and hungry to desperation; and this intellectual nomadism, in its excess, bankrupts the mind, through the dissipation of power on a miscellany of objects.

The home-keeping wit, on the other hand, is that continence or content which finds all the elements of life in its own soil; and which has its own perils of monotony and deterioration, if not stimulated by foreign infusions. Every thing the individual sees without him corresponds to his states of mind, and every thing is in turn intelligible to him, as his onward thinking leads him into the truth to which that fact or series belongs.

The primeval world, — the Fore-World, as the Germans say, — I can dive to it in myself as well as grope for it with researching fingers in catacombs, libraries, and the broken reliefs and torsos of ruined villas. What is the foundation of that interest all men feel in Greek history, letters, art, and poetry, in all its periods, from the Heroic or Homeric age down to the domestic life of the Athenians and Spartans, four or five centuries later?

What but this, that every man passes personally through a Grecian period. The Grecian state is the era of the bodily nature, the perfection of the senses, — of the spiritual nature unfolded in strict unity with the body. In it existed those human forms which supplied the sculptor with his models of Hercules, Ph;oebus, and Jove; not like the forms abounding in the streets of modern cities, wherein the face is a confused blur of features, but composed of incorrupt, sharply defined, and symmetrical features, whose eye-sockets are so formed that it would be impossible for such eyes to squint, and take furtive glances on this side and on that, but they must turn the whole head.

The manners of that period are plain and fierce. The reverence exhibited is for personal qualities, courage, address, self-command, justice, strength, swiftness, a loud voice, a broad chest. Luxury and elegance are not known. A sparse population and want make every man his own valet, cook, butcher, and soldier, and the habit of supplying his own needs educates the body to wonderful performances.

Such are the Agamemnon and Diomed of Homer, and not far different is the picture Xenophon gives of himself and his compatriots in the Retreat of the Ten Thousand. But Xenophon arose naked, and, taking an axe, began to split wood; whereupon others rose and did the like. They quarrel for plunder, they wrangle with the generals on each new order, and Xenophon is as sharp-tongued as any, and sharper-tongued than most, and so gives as good as he gets.

Who does not see that this is a gang of great boys, with such a code of honor and such lax discipline as great boys have? The costly charm of the ancient tragedy, and indeed of all the old literature, is, that the persons speak simply, — speak as persons who have great good sense without knowing it, before yet the reflective habit has become the predominant habit of the mind.

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural. The Greeks are not reflective, but perfect in their senses and in their health, with the finest physical organization in the world. Adults acted with the simplicity and grace of children.

They made vases, tragedies, and statues, such as healthy senses should,—— that is, in good taste. Such things have continued to be made in all ages, and are now, wherever a healthy physique exists; but, as a class, from their superior organization, they have surpassed all.

They combine the energy of manhood with the engaging unconsciousness of childhood. The attraction of these manners is that they belong to man, and are known to every man in virtue of his being once a child; besides that there are always individuals who retain these characteristics. A person of childlike genius and inborn energy is still a Greek, and revives our love of the Muse of Hellas. I admire the love of nature in the Philoctetes. In reading those fine apostrophes to sleep, to the stars, rocks, mountains, and waves, I feel time passing away as an ebbing sea.

I feel the eternity of man, the identity of his thought. The Greek had, it seems, the same fellow-beings as I. The sun and moon, water and fire, met his heart precisely as they meet mine. Then the vaunted distinction between Greek and English, between Classic and Romantic schools, seems superficial and pedantic. When a thought of Plato becomes a thought to me, — when a truth that fired the soul of Pindar fires mine, time is no more. When I feel that we two meet in a perception, that our two souls are tinged with the same hue, and do, as it were, run into one, why should I measure degrees of latitude, why should I count Egyptian years?

The student interprets the age of chivalry by his own age of chivalry, and the days of maritime adventure and circumnavigation by quite parallel miniature experiences of his own. To the sacred history of the world, he has the same key. When the voice of a prophet out of the deeps of antiquity merely echoes to him a sentiment of his infancy, a prayer of his youth, he then pierces to the truth through all the confusion of tradition and the caricature of institutions.

Rare, extravagant spirits come by us at intervals, who disclose to us new facts in nature. I see that men of God have, from time to time, walked among men and made their commission felt in the heart and soul of the commonest hearer. Hence, evidently, the tripod, the priest, the priestess inspired by the divine afflatus. Jesus astonishes and overpowers sensual people.

They cannot unite him to history, or reconcile him with themselves. As they come to revere their intuitions and aspire to live holily, their own piety explains every fact, every word. How easily these old worships of Moses, of Zoroaster, of Menu, of Socrates, domesticate themselves in the mind.

I cannot find any antiquity in them. They are mine as much as theirs. I have seen the first monks and anchorets without crossing seas or centuries. More than once some individual has appeared to me with such negligence of labor and such commanding contemplation, a haughty beneficiary, begging in the name of God, as made good to the nineteenth century Simeon the Stylite, the Thebais, and the first Capuchins.

The priestcraft of the East and West, of the Magian, Brahmin, Druid, and Inca, is expounded in the individual's private life. The cramping influence of a hard formalist on a young child in repressing his spirits and courage, paralyzing the understanding, and that without producing indignation, but only fear and obedience, and even much sympathy with the tyranny, — is a familiar fact explained to the child when he becomes a man, only by seeing that the oppressor of his youth is himself a child tyrannized over by those names and words and forms, of whose influence he was merely the organ to the youth.

The fact teaches him how Belus was worshipped, and how the Pyramids were built, better than the discovery by Champollion of the names of all the workmen and the cost of every tile. He finds Assyria and the Mounds of Cholula at his door, and himself has laid the courses. Again, in that protest which each considerate person makes against the superstition of his times, he repeats step for step the part of old reformers, and in the search after truth finds like them new perils to virtue.

He learns again what moral vigor is needed to supply the girdle of a superstition. A great licentiousness treads on the heels of a reformation. How many times in the history of the world has the Luther of the day had to lament the decay of piety in his own household!

The advancing man discovers how deep a property he has in literature, — in all fable as well as in all history. He finds that the poet was no odd fellow who described strange and impossible situations, but that universal man wrote by his pen a confession true for one and true for all. His own secret biography he finds in lines wonderfully intelligible to him, dotted down before he was born. One after another he comes up in his private adventures with every fable of Aesop, of Homer, of Hafiz, of Ariosto, of Chaucer, of Scott, and verifies them with his own head and hands.

What a range of meanings and what perpetual pertinence has the story of Prometheus! Beside its primary value as the first chapter of the history of Europe, the mythology thinly veiling authentic facts, the invention of the mechanic arts, and the migration of colonies, it gives the history of religion with some closeness to the faith of later ages.

Prometheus is the Jesus of the old mythology. He is the friend of man; stands between the unjust "justice" of the Eternal Father and the race of mortals, and readily suffers all things on their account. But where it departs from the Calvinistic Christianity, and exhibits him as the defier of Jove, it represents a state of mind which readily appears wherever the doctrine of Theism is taught in a crude, objective form, and which seems the self-defence of man against this untruth, namely, a discontent with the believed fact that a God exists, and a feeling that the obligation of reverence is onerous.

It would steal, if it could, the fire of the Creator, and live apart from him, and independent of him. The Prometheus Vinctus is the romance of skepticism. Not less true to all time are the details of that stately apologue. Apollo kept the flocks of Admetus, said the poets. When the gods come among men, they are not known. Jesus was not; Socrates and Shakespeare were not.

ESSAY ON ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IN PAKISTAN

The Lord's Supper. Spiritual Laws. The Over-Soul. The Poet. Nominalist and Realist. New England Reformers. Plato, or, the Philosopher. Napolean, or, the Man of the World. English Traits. Conduct of Life. Society and Solitude. Ezra Ripley, D. Emancipation in the British West Indies.

The Fugitive Slave Law. John Brown. The Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Lincoln. Free Quiz. Topics for Discussion. This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. A man may thrive anywhere, under the "oldest mouldiest conventions" as well as in "the newest world.

If we expect nothing of life, we will be pleasantly surprised to receive anything at all. If we expect much, we will inevitably be disappointed. Life's gifts are not obtained by analysis, but in the process of living. We need to look after our own affairs regardless of what others think we should be doing. Emerson recommends "the temperate zone" between the ideal and the material. Life is composed of both power life force and form, which must be balanced if health and soundness are to be preserved.

Every quality, even the good, is dangerous in excess. Our lives would be easier, Emerson writes, if we could simply attend to our ordinary daily routines. But we are susceptible to intimations from a higher source, which shake the common, limited vision of reality. Measured and predictable though daily life is, God isolates us in the present moment and from one another so that we will live and respond spontaneously, will heed the call of intuition.

Both nature and man operate "by pulses" and "by fits," and chance plays a key role. Human intention and design are not always factors in the way life plays out. The most attractive person is the one who exerts power incidentally, not directly. The thought of genius always contains the unpredictable. The moral sentiment is always new, always comes without direct sensory experience.

Our experience of life, too, contains an element of divine inspiration, which won't bear analysis. Man's vital force derives from the eternal, and its results cannot be controlled or predicted. Emerson describes intuition as the means of perceiving the underlying unity behind the multiple expressions of God. Insight into the harmonious divine source does not come sequentially, but rather in flashes, which bring joy as well as vision.

Intuition opens up whole new worlds to us. Man's consciousness is a constant, unchanging element that serves as a "sliding scale" to rank all that is experienced according to its origin in the divine "First Cause" or in material nature. The spiritual and the material coexist as "life above life, in infinite degrees. The spiritual life force is tremendously empowering. How we express the life force through what we think and do is less significant than "the universal impulse to believe" — our receptivity.

Spirit is conveyed directly to man, without explanation, and likewise is expressed directly through man, in his character and actions. It allows us to influence others without words and even without physical proximity. Openness to spirit not only imparts personal force, but also allows the ever-greater understanding of "life and duty, of a doctrine of life which shall transcend any written record we have. Human subjectivity is an inescapable force that causes us to project ourselves onto what we perceive in life, of nature, even of God.

There is an inequality between the subject perceiving and the object perceived. Deriving our strength and inspiration from God, we need what we perceive to validate and enhance our sense of our own importance in the divine scheme, and we focus on specific particulars that reinforce this sense. In our subjectivity, we go so far as to excuse ourselves for traits and actions that we condemn in others, thereby accepting the relative rather than the fixed and absolute. Emerson points to sin, which subjective intellect perceives only in relation to itself, although when viewed from the framework of traditional religion is an absolute quality.

Because of our subjectivity, in order for the soul to attain "her due sphericity" a completeness reflective of the larger whole , we must be exposed to the full range of particulars. Self-reliance is essential to avoid distraction by the many particulars that life brings our way.

We must not pay too much attention to custom and opinion, must live our own lives and think our own thoughts, must keep our focus on the eternal. Emerson admits that the eternal and the material are essentially irreconcilable. He attempts to answer the question of what the practical results of understanding the relationship between idealism and experience might be.

The effects of our explorations of truth, he answers, are cumulative, incalculable within the span of a single human lifetime. Moreover, while people in general place too much emphasis on doing rather than knowing, he himself accepts the primary value of knowing. He recognizes that the world he lives in is not the world he thinks it is, and trusts that he will some day understand this discrepancy. But we cannot resolve it by attempting to translate the world of thought into reality, as is attempted by various reform movements.

Emerson urges patience, avoidance of squandering precious time and attention on inconsequential details of living, and persistent, optimistic openness to the intuitive insight that will bring "the light of our life. Previous Major Themes. Next Major Themes.

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