Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Emerson quotes

I read Emerson's Self-Reliance yesterday. (In connection with Stanley Cavell's Cities of Words. "Self-Reliance" is one of many texts which Cavell addresses in that book. I was told Cavell's interpretations are "idiosyncratic". I'm beginning to suspect that that's an unnecessarily charitable way of saying "spurious".)

Anyway, some quotable quotes from Emerson.

On, of all things, whim:
I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.
And on Christendom (I wonder if he ever read Kierkegaard):
For every Stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?
And on an activity which I find periodically confusing:
Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What would Emerson think of relying on what you've been told?
What suspicions are in reach when one hits un-supplied grounds for suspicions?