Emerson Essay History Summary

Emerson Essay History Summary-87
As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages and the ages explained by the hours.Of the universal mind each individual man is one more incarnation. Each new fact in his private experience flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises of his life refer to national crises.

As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages and the ages explained by the hours.

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Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man.

Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.

We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.” We should live in the day, in the moment.

We should accept our circumstances and companions, and make the best of what life offers us.

“Every evil and every good thing is a shadow which we cast.” We perceive the world in ways that validate our importance and our divine connection. We perceive the world in relative, rather than absolute, terms.

Our soul only attains its “due sphericity” (completeness) when we learn from the specialized knowledge imparted by the perspectives of great minds.To navigate the storm of confusion created by the lords of life – “illusion, temperament, succession, surface, surprise, reality, subjectiveness” – Emerson advocates “self-trust,” or rather, self-reliance.We should focus on the cultivation of our own thoughts (rather than those of society) and our relationship with God. Emerson opens his essay with a poem about the “lords of life,” those forces which affect our experience of life.Within this poem lies the problem Emerson seeks to address.We walk in confusion among these forces, including God (the “inventor of the game”), given the difficulty of gaining perspective on our life beyond our material existence and the everyday details that preoccupy us.Emerson hopes to shed light on how one might do so though, as nature comforts man by saying the lords will “wear another face” tomorrow, and man will rise above them.The key question raised is not what one does, but from what source one’s motivation derives from – the divine or the material?Our life is filled with prospective directions with which to use our “vast-flowing vigor,” but the spirit flows through us when we are receptive to the “universal impulse to believe.” Our awareness of ourselves since the Fall of Man has robbed us of our ability to live in what we see – now, we project ourselves onto objects, including nature, art, other people, religions, and even God. For example, Emerson points to crimes performed out of love (e.g., murder, stealing) – the perpetrator believes it right and fair, but others find it destructive.Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate.What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand.

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