April 04, 2013

Ashamed before the blade of grass

The theme at Goat Rope these days continues to be the life and thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with a focus at the moment on his famous essay Self Reliance, which is a call for and declaration of spiritual independence.

There is a pretty good bit of irony in today's selection, which involves quoting from a bit of his essay that opposes quoting other people. I beg to disagree with Waldo here. I love finding examples of people who say things better than I ever could. It happens all the time. But the paragraph also contains some good insights into the difficulty we have of living in the present.This is another example of how Emerson's ideas both reflected his interest in Buddhist thought and anticipated elements of it as yet unknown in America. And you can quote me on that.

Here's goes:

Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.
A GOOD IDEA. Here's economist Dean Baker with a column on how the US could improve its employment picture with a more extensive use of work sharing, which involves reducing hours rather than cutting jobs and letting affected workers draw partial benefits for the lost wages. El Cabrero and friends have tried to push this idea in WV. It actually made it through one legislative committee this session despite the irrational hostility of the state Chamber of Commerce for a business friendly measure and an equally bizarre attempt at sabotage at the state workforce agency.

ONE MORE LINK JUST FOR FUN. Here's a look at some of the whackiest things televangelist Pat Robertson has said. I'll bet it was hard to whittle it down to 10.


1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

Chamber Of Commerce = 666