March 21, 2013

A wart and a wen

This time of year is the political equivalent of deer season in West Virginia. During this busy time, this blog has been focusing on the life and work of 19th century American literary giant Ralph Waldo Emerson. At the moment, the focus is on his 1838 Harvard Divinity School Address, which was a bit over the top for his initial audience.

To tell the truth, parts of it are over the top for me. Although I am no pillar of ecclesiastical conformity, I do have a moments of orthodoxy and some of Emerson's glib delusions of spiritual grandeur seem pretty loopy to me.

One such idea that I have always had trouble with is the idea that God dwells within us. Emerson loved that kind of thing, as expressed in statements like this one:

That which shows God in me, fortifies me. That which shows God out of me, makes me a wart and a wen. There is no longer a necessary reason for my being. Already the long shadows of untimely oblivion creep over me, and I shall decease forever.
 To which I am tempted to reply, we are warts and wens, Ralph. Suck it up.


NEANDERTHALS AND US. Apparently Neanderthal brains were more about things like vision than social networking. I guess this means they weren't big Facebook users.



Anonymous said...

Clearly, you have NO understanding of Emerson! And you probably have little understanding of his concept of self-reliance--or of American individualism in general!

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