Monday, July 5, 2010

a becoming creator...

This weekend was for me a true celebration of independence (and the deeper reality of unity found in true independence.)  My wonderful and tolerant family takes me to Concord each year on my birthday (July 3) and, as always, we visit Emerson's Study at the museum first.  This year that was followed by Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Author's Ridge where we communed with the spirits of Ralph Waldo, Henry David, and Amos Bronson (and families.)  Then a picnic lunch at the Old North Bridge and finally a canoe trip on the Sudbury.
   This morning I re-read, for the first time in years, Emerson's "American Scholar."  As I have gotten older I have tended towards the later essays and reading "Scholar" was a shock to my system-which is, of course, the point.  An excerpt:

 "To the young mind, every thing is individual, stands by itself. By and by, it finds how to join two things, and see in them one nature; then three, then three thousand; and so, tyrannized over by its own unifying instinct, it goes on tying things together, diminishing anomalies, discovering roots running under ground, whereby contrary and remote things cohere, and flower out from one stem. It presently learns, that, since the dawn of history, there has been a constant accumulation and classifying of facts. But what is classification but the perceiving that these objects are not chaotic, and are not foreign, but have a law which is also a law of the human mind? The astronomer discovers that geometry, a pure abstraction of the human mind, is the measure of planetary motion. The chemist finds proportions and intelligible method throughout matter; and science is nothing but the finding of analogy, identity, in the most remote parts. The ambitious soul sits down before each refractory fact; one after another, reduces all strange constitutions, all new powers, to their class and their law, and goes on for ever to animate the last fibre of organization, the outskirts of nature, by insight.

Thus to him, to this school-boy under the bending dome of day, is suggested, that he and it proceed from one root; one is leaf and one is flower; relation, sympathy, stirring in every vein. And what is that Root? Is not that the soul of his soul? -- A thought too bold, -- a dream too wild. Yet when this spiritual light shall have revealed the law of more earthly natures, -- when he has learned to worship the soul, and to see that the natural philosophy that now is, is only the first gropings of its gigantic hand, he shall look forward to an ever expanding knowledge as to a becoming creator."

(photo: at Emerson's grave)

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