Friday, November 13, 2009

the loyal soul...

Transcendentalism's detractors have, from its beginning, criticized it for its seeming egotism. Unfortunately many of its adherents have embraced it for the same reason. Emerson sets the record straight in this excerpt from "Immortality:"

"It is a proverb of the world that good will makes intelligence, that goodness itself is an eye ; and the one doctrine in which all religions agree is that new light is added to the mind in proportion as it uses that which it has. "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." Ignorant people confound reverence for the intuitions with egotism. There is no confusion in the things themselves. The health of the mind consists in the perception of law. Its dignity consists in being under the law. Its goodness is the most generous extension of our private interests to the dignity and generosity of ideas. Nothing seems to me so excellent as a belief in the laws. It communicates nobleness, and, as it were, an asylum in temples to the loyal soul."


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