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The Gospel of Emerson
By Michael A. Guy   

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No I'm not talking about the gospel of inexpensive but quality home electronics. Or the founder of that modern company, but rather the premier American philosopher and orator of the middle 19th century from Concord, Mass. Ralph W. Emerson was not only the originator of many our "lexicon of tried but true old sayings," but his revelations taken out of context of his essays are as relevant as ever. They are in my opinion more needed in a world that gives us Eienaman's instead of Einsteins ...

1. "Nature forever puts a premium on reality. What is done for effect is seen to be done for effect; what is done for love is felt to be done for love. A man inspires affection and honor because he was not lying in wait for these. The things of a man for which we celebrate him were done in the dark and the cold. A little integrity is better than any career..."

2. Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment; the more  to make it better. What if they are a little coarse and you get your coat soiled and torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Get up again and you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."

3. There are all degrees of proficiency in knowledge of the world. It is sufficient to our present purpose to indicate three:

A. One class lives to the utility of the symbol, esteeming comfort and wealth as the final good.

B. Another class live above this mark to the beauty of the symbol, as do poets, artists and the naturalist and men of science.

C. A third class live above the beauty of the symbol to the beauty of the thing signified; these are true wise men.

The first class have common sense; the second, good taste; and the third, spiritual perception. Once in a long time, a man traverses the whole scale, and sees and enjoys the symbol solidly, then also has a clear eye for its beauty, and lastly, whilst he pitches his tent on the sacred volcanic isle of nature, does not offer to build houses and barns thereon,--reverencing the splendor of the God which he sess bursting through each chink and cranny of life and Nature....

4. (and finally) -- "Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models (and certainly the bad ones!) even those which are considered sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil..."

These quotes are from various letter, speeches and essays of 19th century American Transcendental Philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, collected in a book of organized quotes called: "The Gospel of Emerson"

[Has modern life and society become so harshly materialistic that particularly our young people see no value and find no education in learning the moral & philosophical history of these great men of American Letters? It's a sad comment when only high FCAT, and SAT scores and winners of National Spelling Bees are considered educated. I think it involves a lot more rounded education than that...

As a well historically-read writer, it is only my opinion of course -- michael guy]

 



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