One City

october_quotes_spiritual_america.jpgby Ethan Nichtern

An October Quote to start the month.

Question Number One: What does a Spiritual America look like, and is there a difference between “spiritual” and “religious?”

Question Number Two: Was Walt Whitman America’s First Buddhist? Or just a spiritual revolutionary?

“Intense and loving comradeship, the personal
attachment of [hu]man to [hu]man–which, hard to define, underlies the lessons
and ideals of the profound saviors of every land and age, and which seems to
promise, when thoroughly develop’d, cultivated and recognised in manners and
literature, the most substantial hope and safety of the future of these States,
will then be fully express’d.
It is to the development, identification, and
general prevalence of that fervid comradeship…that I look for the counterbalance
and offset of our materialistic and vulgar American democracy, and the
spiritualization thereof.

Many will say it is a dream, and will not follow my
inferences: but I confidently expect a time when there will be seen, running
like a half-hid warp though all the myriad audible and visible worldly
interests of America, threads of [hu]manly friendship, fond and loving, pure
and sweet, strong and life-long, carried to degrees hitherto unknown–not only
giving tone to individual character, and making it unprecedentedly emotional,
muscular, heroic, and refined, but having the deepest relationship to general
politics. I say democracy infers such loving comradeship, as its most
inevitable twin or counterpart, without which it will be incomplete, in vain,
and incapable of perpetuating itself.

-Walt Whitman

Vistas, 1871

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