Wednesday, December 14, 2011
life is but a dream sweetheart...
"...there is another subtle but important ramification to his affirmation of maya's or illusion's, universality: Through this recognition of the universality of illusion, Emerson is able to affirm the illusory nature of the individual self as well and thus to avoid the tendency toward solipsism that so haunts English and to some extent European Romanticism. After all, the logical conclusion of the doctrine of maya must be that the individual ego is also contigent, that if the external world is a dream, then so are we ourselves. If the essence of the Romantic fallacy was the psychologizing internalization of religious truth, then by denying the ultimate reality of the ego, Emerson is effectively transcending the fundamental trap of Romanticism.
According to Emerson, man is truly man only when he transcends his limited self; man is meant to be more than man, to be a 'transparent eyeball' (using an echo of a Plotinian phrase), to be a 'god' sitting among 'gods,' or not to be an 'I' at all. Many critics have suggested that Emerson was fundamentally an egoist, and no doubt this is true, for as Nakagawa Soen Roshi once said, we are all egoists. But insufficient attention has been paid to Emerson's focus on transcending the self, for it is here, on the poet's illuminaation or inspiration, that Emerson's works are often actually centered. Pivotal here are Platonism and the Vedanta."
The line between self absorption and self transcendence is a fine line indeed and maybe the chief role of religion is to illuminate that line...
Posted by slt at 3:48 PM