Thursday, February 24, 2011

a pious reception...

The "old school" Unitarian, Ezra Stiles Gannett has, the past couple of days, talked about the mystery of God. As a fairly conservative Christian, Gannett was no friend of "Transcendentalism" and yet, as the following from Ralph Waldo Emerson shows, they agreed that its all about reception. As a lover of books and study, I must admit that this has been a life-long barrier for me. Can someone tell me why simple "reception" is so difficult?

"Our spontaneous action is always the best. You cannot with your best deliberation and heed come so close to any question as your spontaneous glance shall bring you, whilst you rise from your bed, or walk abroad in the morning after meditating the matter before sleep on the previous night. Our thinking is a pious reception. Our truth of thought is therefore vitiated as much by too violent direction given by our will, as by too great negligence. We do not determine what we will think. We only open our senses, clear away as we can all obstruction from the fact, and suffer the intellect to see. We have little control over our thoughts. We are the prisoners of ideas...

In every man's mind, some images, words and facts remain, without effort on his part to imprint them, which others forget, and afterwards these illustrate to him important laws. All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It is vain to hurry it. By trusting it to the end, it shall ripen into truth and you shall know why you believe."

Blessings

2 comments:

Bill Baar said...

Because reception's lead us to act without much thought and bad outcomes the result?

boston unitarian said...

Hi Bill,
A big part of me agrees with you and it is what separates the reception of a Gannett (tempered with the scriptures, history and community) and the purely individual reception of an Emerson which can be so dangerous...
Many thanks for writing and
Blessings, BU