America's Founding Seeker

On his 200th birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson seems as modern as any bestselling New Age guru


06/04/2003 10:33:23 PM

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." --Emerson


05/29/2003 10:51:38 PM

But see, amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It srithes!--it writhes!--with mortal pangs The mimes become its food, And the angels sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued. Out--out are the lights--out all! And, over each dying form, The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, And the seraphs, all haggard and wan, Uprising, uneiling, affirm That the play is the tdragedy, "Man" And its hero the Conqueror Worm. Edgar Allen Poe We know not where we come from, we know not where we go, the best thing that we can do, is to enjoy this wonderful show. El


05/29/2003 10:47:42 PM

Lo! tis a gala night Within the lonesome latter years! A mystic throung, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre, to se A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The Music of the spheres. Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and tdhither fly.. Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast shadowy things That shift the scenery tdo and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! That motley drama--oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phanmtom chased for evermore, By a crowd that seize it not, TDhrough a circle that every returneth in To the self-same spot, And much of Madness, and more of Sin, And Horror the soul of the plot.


05/29/2003 12:54:32 PM

> Well said, Kirby. Because I can not only stand to "live in the question"--but do--I became a Unitarian Universalist. Ambiguity and uncertainty are not personally painful to me.


05/29/2003 11:25:41 AM

Emerson is more often thought of as an intellectual than as a mystic. But his encouraging people to seek their own, original relationship with the Divine is very much a stance of mystical theology. I tried to be a Christian who believed Jesus was pointing us to our own divinity, to the possibility of our having the same intimacy with God that he had. Unfortunately, orthodox Christians insist on human sinfulness and divinity as something outside us that we can access only by proper belief. In contrast, Emerson's skeptical, searching attitude is more characteristic of people who can stand to live with ambiguity, which most people can't.


05/29/2003 09:46:22 AM

I was fortunate to discover Thoreau and Emerson in my early teens and they were major influences in my life. They still are, though my understanding of them has matured and changed. These are not the guys to go to for concrete theological ideas but I think their general philosophy of spirituality is beneficial, certainly for me as someone who was questioning religion and social assumptions but had a profound sense of the sublime, especially in nature, and desire to live in accordance with that. To me, this was inspirational reading. It brought me a lot of joy and these guys felt like my friends.


05/29/2003 09:15:03 AM

Emerson's legacy is about being responsible for your own spiritual development, that it only works when we rely on our own intuitive guidance, put it in our own words and live it from our own deepest connection with ourselves. I love this guy! he's helped me to think for myself and to honor my own ability and my own divinity. What more is there?