March 14, 2013

A man is made Providence to himself

The theme at Goat Rope these days, aside from occasional rants when things get on my last nerve, is the life and work of Ralph Waldo Emerson. At this point, I'm on his Harvard Divinity School Address, which managed to tick off even Unitarians.

As I've mentioned before, Emerson and Thoreau were both forerunners of American Buddhism. In this essay, Emerson expounds a subtle idea of karma whereby people become more like what they invest themselves in. Compassionate people get better at compassion. Greedy people get better at greed. He sees this as working like a law of nature:

See how this rapid intrinsic energy worketh everywhere, righting wrongs, correcting appearances, and bringing up facts to a harmony with thoughts. Its operation in life, though slow to the senses, is, at last, as sure as in the soul. By it, a man is made the Providence to himself, dispensing good to his goodness, and evil to his sin. Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls. The least admixture of a lie--for example, the taint of vanity, the least attempt to make a good impression, a favorable appearance--will instantly vitiate the effect. But speak the truth, and all nature and all spirits help you with unexpected furtherance. Speak the truth, and all things alive or brute are vouchers, and the very roots of the grass underground there, do seem to stir and move to bear you witness. See again the perfection of the Law as it applies itself to the affections, and becomes the law of society. As we are, so we associate. The good, by affinity, seek the good; the vile, by affinity, the vile. Thus of their own violition, souls proceed into heaven, into hell.

To which I can only say, with Hamlet's friend Horatio, so have I heard and do in part believe it. Or I'd like to  anyway.

COAL COUNTIES AND DEATH RATES seem to go hand in hand.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THIS WEBSITE to learn more about Medicaid expansion, whether you can qualify for coverage, and how you can take steps to make sure it happens here.

I CAN HANDLE BATS EATING SPIDERS, but the thought of spiders eating bats kind of grosses me out. Maybe it's a mammalian solidarity thing.


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