February 18, 2013

A transparent eyeball

Caricature of an image from Emerson's essay "Nature" by Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892).

The theme at Goat Rope these days is Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great 19th century essayist and Transcendentalist, whatever that means. This week, I'm looking at his seminal essay/lecture Nature, which not only has many memorable passages but, as the picture above illustrates, sometimes lends itself to amusing images.

Here's Ralph on what a good walk in the woods does for the soul:

In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith  There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,--no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. 

And here's an image for you:

Standing on the bare ground--my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing  I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
Although some of this essay seems a bit loopy to me, I love those lines and have even felt them a time or two. Except maybe for the transparent eyeball thing.

LET'S DO IT. Here's Paul Krugman on raising the minimum wage.

REGRETS. Here are the top five at the end of life.


No comments: