Meanwhile, following are exerpts from the first essay in Emerson's First Book of Essays, "History" which figured prominently in a lecture I was recently honored to attend by Robert Richardson who wrote The Mind on Fire, a ground changing biography of Emerson.
"There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think: what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. 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. Of the works of this mind, history is the record...Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history...We, as we read, must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner; must fasten these images to some reality in our seret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly."
(find the full text at: http://www.rwe.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=42)
Emerson is much caricatured as a starry eyed idealist, a radical individualist, a muddle headed optimist and more. The reality is much more complex. The Way of Emerson was, and is, not an easy road and his optimism was bought with hard struggle through difficult and tragic events. Yet he could say to Thomas Carlyle, "My whole philosophy-which is very real-teaches acquiesence and optimism." Surrender and faith.