Tuesday, September 28, 2010

all is one and one is all...

Why Emerson will always be difficult to get one's head around, and why the (for me nearly life-long) effort will always be so rewarding. This from William James in his notebooks in 1905 (quoted in Buell's "Emerson")

"Emerson's metaphysics consisted in the platonic belief that the foundation of all things is an overarching Reason.  Sometimes he calls this divine principle the Intellect, sometimes "the Soul," sometimes the One.  Whate'er we call it, we are at one with it so far as our moments of insight go.  But no one moment can go very far, and no one man can lay down the law for others, for their angles of vision may be as sacred as his own.  Hence two tendencies in Emerson, one towards absolute Monism; the other towards radical individualism.  The sound contradictory enough; but he held to each of them in its extremist form."


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