Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

EMERSON & ADVAITA – A lecture presented by Barbara Solowey

 

 

EMERSON & ADVAITA
A lecture presented by Barbara Solowey
12 East 79th Street
Saturday, May 16, 2009   7:00 pm.

 

 

 

 

The teaching of Ralph Waldo Emerson is an expression of Advaita, the philosophy that addresses the fundamental unity in all things, proclaiming the oneness of God, the soul, and the universe. His longing for unity guided him to the great wisdom of the East where he found it in its purest and most sublime form.

Emerson had deep faith that this realization was possible. His call to humanity was for a new consciousness “to restore that bond by which their own self was linked to the Eternal Self; to recover that unity which had been clouded and obscured by the magical illusion of reality, by the so-called Maya of Creation.” (Illusions)

Let Emerson’s transcendental teaching to discover “the infinitude of the private man” inspire us in our own journey to be Self-reliant, to awaken Reason, and to follow Divine Law.
Tickets at $20 may be purchased on-line by clicking here,  or by visiting the Registration Office at 12 East 79th Street.

 

Categories
Membership RWE Institute

RWEI Book Publishing

To Members:

In the coming months, RWEI will be inviting registered members with book proposals or manuscripts to submit them for publication. We are presently working on several projects for 2008, including a reprint of the Emerson Centenary of 1903, a book published by The Riverside Press in 1903. 

Books published by RWEI will be produced Print On Demand through Lightning Source, a division of Ingram. Contracts will be standard, with no advance, 10% author royalty on all sales, and exposure on the RWE.org site and online booksellers. Authors who may wish to advertise and market their book beyond this exposure may do so with their own funds. 

 

 

Categories
Mission RWE Institute

Individual Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals

Ralph Waldo
Emerson Journals


1:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals – Volume 1

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the first time, the extensive personal journals of Ralph Waldo
Emerson (1803-1882) are here made available in digital format, having
been scanned …
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

2:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 2

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the personal journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Volume 2 of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals covers the years 1824-1832,
when Em…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

3:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 3

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

4:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 4

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

5:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 5

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 


6:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 6

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

7:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 7

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

8:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 8

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

9:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 9

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

10:


Ralph Waldo Emerson Journals, Volume 10

by

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are the journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in PDF Acrobat
Reader format. They derive from the 1904-14 edition of the Journals
edited by…
 
 
Adobe PDF Version 7 eBook
$6.00

 
 
Adobe eBook
 
 
 
 

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

Events at RWE.org

The Concord Premiere was a wonderful success.  The house
was filled to the brim and the conversation that followed was
inspiring. 


Thank you to Mary Miller and Dan Emerson for their most generous and articulate work in setting up the event.

   And thank you to Richard Grossman, Sarah Wider and David Beardsley
for their illuminating response to a variety of erudite questions.

Following are notes on the conversation by Susan Imholz.
On June 16th The Ralph Waldo
Emerson Institute gathered at the Concord Museum in Concord
Massachusetts for a showing of “Emerson: the Ideal in America”, a
biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson. We were joined by two Emerson
scholars; Professor Sarah Wider from Colgate College, and Richard
Grossman, author of “A Year with Emerson” in discussion after the
viewing. Also present were David Beardsley who wrote and directed
the video, and Jim Manley moderated
  –> More…

Concord MA Premiere of RWE DocumentaryEmerson: The Ideal in America

 

 

  • A celebration of the first public screening in Concord of Emerson: The Ideal in America
  • See the first and only video documentary of Ralph Waldo Emerson and join in a conversation.
  • Saturday, June 16, 2007, 7 pm. at the Concord Museum.
  • Free. Limited seating. First come, first served. Passes required.
  • For more information, view or download a PDF file of the Concord Premiere Invitation
  • To apply for passes, download a PDF file of the Registration Form.
  • To download a file, right-click on the link and choose "Save Link As"
  • Note: the above PDF files require the (free) Adobe Acrobat reader.

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS

RWE.org – recommended film

 A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS
with Steven Earl Edwards and Terrance Mann

We're
going to have a local screening here in LaGrange as a "thank you" to all the
locals who helped us on Saturday, July 7.  If you get a chance, go to this
website and select Track #9, and you can listen to the first verse of the Title
Track, "Circle On The Cross" for my film, A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS
that I co-authored, co-produced, and appear in with Terry Mann!  It's
a SAG Indie Feature (barely making the time!) The guy who wrote and recorded the
song, Keni Thomas, got country legend Kenny Rogers to record the voice over
lead-in at the beginning of the song.  The song is already released on
his CD, "Flags Of Our Fathers-A Soldier's Story," along with other great
songs.  The song is at: 
http://cdbaby.com/cd/keni2

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

Notes on the conversation

On June 16th The Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute gathered at the Concord Museum in Concord Massachusetts for a showing of "Emerson: the Ideal in America", a biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson. We were joined by two Emerson scholars; Professor Sarah Wider from Colgate College, and Richard Grossman, author of "A Year with Emerson" in discussion after the viewing. Also present were David Beardsley who wrote and directed the video, and Jim Manley moderated.


Below is a synopsis of audience questions and group discussion that followed. Responses to questions were collectively answered by Sarah Wider, Richard Grossman, David Beardsley and Jim Manley.


Q: How did you choose the music? There was a particular track that sounded like a Gregorian chant, was that American music?


A: Yes, the sound track is entirely American music of the period. The piece that you are referring to is the "Narraganset Hymn" which was composed by an American composer influenced by the classical Gregorian music.


Q: What would Emerson be doing if he were here today? What role might he play in society?


A: Interesting question, difficult to answer…but he would probably be a man of the media since he was consistently drawn to the ‘new' in his time…it was suggested later on in the evening that perhaps Emerson may have been a Bill Moyers like personage-in light of the work Moyers has done with Joseph Campbell and many programs examining the role of spiritual life in modern culture. As an educator, he might be supportive of what is generally known as the "Socratic method" of teaching and interaction with students-where students are encouraged to reflect on the world around them, problems, or texts, and taught to utilize and trust in their own analysis of intellectual and spiritual issues. [In response the panelists also talked a great deal about individualized interaction with students, listening closely to their ideas, so that each individual can develop his/her own ideas]. In pedagogical terms, this is also known as "constructivist learning". He would probably be a fan of what we call informal education; ‘adult education', or continuing education as life long learners. Some of you have mentioned that the state of education today seems ‘dumbed down'; in the age of Google kids are now free to learn what they want, rather than what they might benefit from. Emerson would certainly have something to say about the persistent inequalities in our educational system.

Q: How do you reconcile the fact that Emerson was a voracious reader of all kinds of texts; religious, philosophical, scientific, historical and pedagogical-with his admonition "never imitate"? Isn't this a contradiction?


A: Emerson was a keen intellect and a terrific synthesizer of ideas; its true he read widely, but in his analysis of other texts he was looking for the similarities among all the world's major religious traditions and their moral and ethical core, or, .belief in the continuity of thought across cultural differences, suggesting the presence of a larger universal spirit from which all differences arise-this is not imitation, but more meta-analysis. These readings (i.e., the Bhagavad-Gita,Upanishads, Goethe, Hafiz) seem to affirm Emerson's belief in the uniqueness of the existence of each individual human being. So, rather than imitation, his study of other religions made him a champion of man's divine spark and the ‘genius within'-a genius that always extended far beyond the limited personal self. As Emerson says in "Friendship" " I ought to be equal to every relation, suggesting how each indivicual must become larger in order to stand in good relation with the world.


Q: At the time in which he lived, what was the public reaction to Emerson's comments about the staleness and triviality of the religious establishment? Was he perceived as a revolutionary?


A: As a minister of the Second Church in Boston, Emerson was in constant conversation with his congregation about the controversial religious ideas of the day (for example: how to interpret "miracles," how to interpret the special character or nature of Jesus). His congregation affirmed and indeed joined his style of questioning and probing established order, but in 1832, they chose not to relinquish the established form of communion, a practice Emerson felt Jesus had not intended to be practiced as a ritual. This disagreement gave him a convenient opportunity to leave an institution that was an increasingly difficult fit for him. He was becoming increasingly controversial as his famous Divinity School Address at Harvard in 1838 would show, and as his published writings would continue to demonstrate. Reviewers of the first two volumes of essays in the 1840s warned that such books should be kept out of the hands of youth.


To put Emerson's celebrity status in context, generally speaking, traveling lecturers were the ‘rock stars' of social life and commanded the following of the press. Emerson was very much a public figure. For example, Emerson's letter President Van Buren protesting the Indian Removal Acts was a bold move. The letter was not simply a private matter of a concerned citizen but written as a public document, sent and printed in the Boston papers. He was a notable friend of Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts who was the political leader of antislavery forces; Emerson was very critical of Daniel Webster's political career as a Senator. So, he was very much a public person of his time.


Q: As a student new to Emerson, how do begin to understand him? His language is so rich (some might say dense)?


A: Read Emerson aloud. Read Emerson with others. The Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute is giving a lot of thought to how they can support and encourage reading circles about Emerson through the web site (RWE.org). The language Emerson uses is multifaceted; but it is also meant to entertain; there is humor in his writings, there is crisp imagery, and it can be a treat for the ear as well. Above all, Emerson loved conversation-he lived for conversation with friends and colleagues. Emerson's essays invite conversation-do not mistake them as sermons or diatribes!

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

Transparency in the Jardin des Plantes

 

            ALA, May, 2007, Boston


 

            On October 14, 1832, two months before sailing for Europe, Emerson wrote in his journal,

The great difficulty is that
men do not think enough of themselves, do not consider what it is that they are
sacrificing when they follow in a herd, or when they cater for their
establishment. They know not how divine is a Man. I know you say such a man thinks too
much of himself. Alas! He is wholly ignorant. He yet  wanders in the outer darkness, in the skirts
and shadows of himself, and has not seen his inner light. Would it not be a
text of a useful discourse to young men, that every man must learn in a
different way? How much is lost by imitation?1



            Here, of course, is the core
of "Self‑Reliance," the cardinal essay in which Emerson deconstructs
European philosophy after John Locke. What is peculiar, however, is that only
six months later, writing from Rome in April 1833, Emerson penned a long
letter  to his Aunt Mary confessing his longing
to find a teacher, someone who could stand as a clear authority. Here is part
of that letter from Emerson's journal:

The wise man, the true
friend, the finished character, we seek everywhere, and only find in fragments.
Yet I cannot persuade myself that all the beautiful souls are fled out of the
planet, or that always I shall be excluded from good company and yoked with
green, dull, pitiful persons… I want instructors. God's greatest gift is a
Teacher, and when will he send me one full of truth and of boundless
benevolence and of heroic sentiments?

 

            Here is a man lost, without direction, having left the familiar
streets of Boston
to wander homeless with a group of dull pitiful persons in a country where his
eloquence is of no use to him. In this context he has lost confidence in the
inner light and seeks instead a teacher. If the intuition of October, 1832, is
to bear fruit, we wonder where will come the affirming experience?  We are all familiar with his meetings with
Landor, Carlyle, Coleridge and Wordsworth, to name the important literary
figures, and his rejection of all of them as the teacher he sought. What
happened in July, 1833, in Paris, however, was that among the silent fragments
of life in the Cabinets of Comparative Anatomy at the Jardin des Plantes in
Paris, he would feel that "surge of spontaneous wisdom flash across his
mind" to use his own words from that earlier journal entry.          It was through a Mr.Warden that Emerson
was given a ticket to the Natural History Museum. Here, among the cabinets of
comparative anatomy and the collection of preserved animals, Emerson
experienced both revelation and authority. Always a lover of nature in its
beauty, diversity and changing face, he had never before been so powerfully
exposed to the deeper principles of its order. In a passage similar in lyricism
to the "Transparent Eyeball" passage in Nature, Emerson
captured the mood of the moment:

Here we are impressed with
the inexhaustible riches of nature. The universe is a more amazing puzzle than
ever, as you glance along this bewildering series of animated forms… Not a
form so grotesque, so savage, nor so beautiful but is an expression of some
property inherent in man the observer, 
-an occult relation between the very scorpions and man. I feel the
centipede in me, – cayman, carp, eagle, and fox. I am moved by strange
sympathies. I say continually " I will be a naturalist."2

            "…some property in man
the observer…" establishes Emerson's idealist credentials, asserting, in
opposition to the realists, the need to have a mutual implication of knower and
known. But more than philosophy appears here as well. Lee Rust Brown in his
Emerson Museum
(1997) and Laura Dassow Walls in her Emerson's Life in
Science
(2003) have fully demonstrated that Emerson's encounter with the
cabinets of the museum, so carefully organized and insightfully presented,
showed him how to see nature more transparently and, equally important, how to
organize his own journals (then thirteen years in the making) so as to create
an interface between mind and nature. Here was the teacher he sought, the work
of men like George Cuvier, Joseph Bonnier, and George Leclerc who possessed the
professional and visionary skills to classify the natural world in such a way,
as Walls puts it, to reveal "the reality of the idea, the complete chain,
offering in material form the keystone that locked the arch of reasoning into
place."3

            Remarkably, those interested
in seeing what Emerson saw in 1833 will be surprised to discover that the
display remains much as it was, supplemented, of course, by the path of
evolution charted by Darwin
two decades later. But the cabinets Emerson saw in 1833 are still as they were,
even down to the original hand‑written labels, now brown with age. The
comparisons of skeletons and organs among the primates, including human beings,
are gathered shelf upon shelf, bone to bone, lung to lung, and brain to brain,
for us to see as Emerson saw.

            The famous declaration "I will be a naturalist"
may seem at first to be a whim of the moment unrealized in practice, but as
Brown theorizes so well, Emerson meant it not as a career choice or return to
school, but rather as a principle of perception. What he had discovered in Paris was that something
deeply hidden lay behind the world of things, and he was determined to explore
that something. He had in fact found his teacher, or shall we say he found
significant guidance, as well as the authority he was seeking, and what he
called "my little book on nature" would begin to formulate the principles
of this discovery.

            My intention here today is to advance the good work
of  Rust and Walls into the world through
Emerson's use of the word ‘transparency' and to suggest that his use of that
term is more important philosophically to Emerson studies than his troubled
relationship with the word ‘transcendental.' I say ‘philosophically' in the
spirit of Stanley Cavell's plea for what he calls in Cities of Words (Belknap
Press, 2004), the refusal or denial of Emerson's words as having philosophical
depth, resulting in "the tendency to refrain from putting much
intellectual pressure on Emerson's words,….from accepting the invitation of
those words to get past their appearance…"4 Cavell's plea is particularly vital in
considering the philosophical resonance of the word ‘transparent,' approaching
what the Spanish philosopher Xavier Zubiri called "the diaphaneity of
being."

            We begin in the journal for July 13, 1833 in Paris. "I carried my
ticket from Mr. Warden to the Cabinet of Natural History in the Garden of Plants. How much finer things are in
composition than alone. 'T is wise in man to make cabinets." The room in
the museum of Comparative Anatomy that Emerson entered
was the size of a standard basketball court, perhaps a little longer. On every
wall and in the center of the room were row upon row of glassed cabinets, six
feet high, and organized by mounted skeletons and organs in jars. From the
smallest creature to human beings, the progression of development and
similarity lies revealed, described on those small hand‑written labels. Here
are brains, lungs, stomachs, livers, and kidneys, arranged to illustrate
identity and progression, all this, of course, pre‑Darwinian (the Evolution
displays are now on a second floor, along with dinosaurs).  Note: Show album

            Walking through the room, Emerson watched as a class of boys with
their teacher, took notes and listened to instruction. Brown, Walls and Richardson emphasize the
importance of this day of days in Emerson's Grande Tour. Here among the cabinets
Emerson sees not only the genius of classification, which will suggest to him
the way in which he will organize his own journals and topical notebooks, but
more important, he saw into and through the opacity of nature into its laws.
When, in a month's time, he begins Nature, he will write, "If the
Reason be stimulated to more earnest vision, outlines and surfaces become
transparent…" His capitalized use of the word ‘reason' here reflects his
presence in Enlightenment France and his debt to Coleridge, whose reaction to
the Enlightenment elevates Reason to what Emerson would eventually call
Intellect, also capitalized.

            Also early in Nature appears the famous
transparent eyeball, a revelation  which
will haunt Emerson and yet also define him. It is transparency that describes
better than any other word the position Emerson takes in the philosophical
struggle to define the truth of reality. That day in the museum he saw his way
through surfaces into the transparency of matter and the unity of nature in all
its forms and states.

            Later, in a combative conversation with Sampson Reed, who
when he made reference to "the other world," Emerson replied, with
great conviction, ""There is no other world; here or nowhere is the
whole fact."5 This unity, based on the notion of
transparency, characterizes Emerson's philosophical position, and his work
during the next decade explores his vision of a continuum of reality from the
opacity of matter to the transparency of spirit.       

            An example of that position appears in the poem
"Brahma," the final stanza of 
which reads, "The strong gods pine for my abode,/ And pine in vain
the sacred Seven;/ But thou, meek lover of the good! /Find me, and turn thy
back on heaven."

            When Emerson says, "I will be a naturalist," he
affirms his devotion to Nature, grounding his philosophy not in matter but in
the laws that manifest nature. The connotations of transparency allow for this
unity by opening out the nature of the universe into a broad range of states
while retaining its singularity, whereas the word ‘transcendent' suggests
otherness and duality. The problem of course is that the word transparency does
not lend itself to framing as an ‘ism.' ‘Transparentism" will never get
off the ground.

            It is in later work that Emerson makes the effort to
attach the full range of his notion of transparency to his vision of reality.
In the "Uses of Great Men," he says, "In the moment when [the
great man] ceases to help us as a cause, he begins to help us more as an
effect. Then he appears as an exponent of a vaster mind and will. The opaque
self becomes transparent with the light of the First Cause." And in
"Inspiration" he wonders where are these great men, men like
Franklin, who "inspire men, take them off their feet, withdraw them from
the life of trifles and gain and comfort, and make the world transparent, so
that they can read the symbols of Nature?"

            And in "Education," Emerson refers to the
naturalist von Humboldt and wonders, "What but that much revolving of
similar facts in his mind has shown him that always the mind contains in its
transparent chambers the means of classifying the most refractory
phenomena." He might just as well be speaking here of Cuvier and the other
naturalists who assembled the wonders in the museum cabinets.

            The important matter, however, in this last reference is
speaking of the human mind with "its transparent chambers." Here is
Emerson connecting consciousness with the nature of the universe in much the
same way he did in Paris
when he wrote, "Not a form so grotesque, so savage, nor so beautiful but
is an expression of some property inherent in man the observer."

And in the later lectures,
there appear observations such as these: In "The Rule of Life:"

"The world can be reeled
off from any one of its laws like a ball of yarn! (The mind held and found
through perfect transparency.)" And in "The Natural Method of Mental
Philosophy,"

"… in the impenetrable
mystery which hides (through absolute transparency) the mental nature, I await
the insight which our advancing knowledge of material laws shall furnish."

            It is at this point, but with ample encouragement from
the radical Emerson, that I am moved to violate all the canons of literary
scholarship by exploring Emerson's relation to quantum field theory. Having
passed into transparency prior to Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg, Emerson only
intuited the world of subatomic reality, and yet, I would argue that he would
have reacted as he did in Paris in exactly the same way to the famous
Uncertainty Principle, the collapse of the wave function and to the even more
remarkable proof of non‑locality, or what Einstein called "spooky action
at a distance." 

            I would assert that if Emerson had been born later and
lived to study Bohr and Heisenberg, he would have declared, "I will be a
physicist" and this because it is the very same laws of transparency and
relation to the observer that he found in Paris.
Here, for example are several observations by contemporary physicists that
Emerson would have relished as confirmation of his views of reality: First,
this from Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos (Knopf, 2004). Greene
is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University
and is one of the more reflective professionals in his willingness to enter the
public arena to explore the various theories of the nature of the universe. In
the book's final chapter, he speculates on the possibility, entertained by a
number of physicists, that space/time itself may be an illusion. He  says, "space and time may similarly
dissolve when scrutinized with the most fundamental formulation of nature's
laws." 6  Here, ‘dissolve' equals transparency.

            In another instance, Roger Penrose, Emeritus Professor of
Physics at Cambridge
and Stephen Hawking's dissertation advisor, wrote in his magnum opus, The
Road To Reality
,

"Any universe that can be
observed  must, as a logical necessity,
be capable of supporting conscious mentality, since consciousness is precisely
what plays the ultimate role of ‘observer.' This fundamental requirement could
well provide constraints of the universe's physical laws, or physical
parameters, in order that conscious mentality can (and will) exist."7

            This reference to a larger
realm of observation, connected by clear inference to a broader view of
consciousness, is thoroughly Emersonian. As early as Nature, in "Prospects,"
Emerson's Orphic poet sang this hymn to human creative power:  "The laws of his mind, the periods of
his actions externized themselves into day and night, into the year and the
seasons. But, having made for himself this huge shell, his waters retired; he
no longer fills the veins and veinlets; he is shrunk to a drop. He sees, that
the structure still fits him, but fits him colossally. Say, rather, once it
fitted him, now it corresponds to him from far and on high. He adores timidly
his own work. Now is man the follower of the sun, and woman the follower of the
moon. Yet sometimes he starts in his slumber, and wonders at himself and his
house, and muses strangely at the resemblance betwixt him and it. He perceives
that if his law is still paramount, if still he have elemental power, if his
word is sterling yet in nature, it is not conscious power, it is not inferior
but superior to his will. It is Instinct.' Thus my Orphic poet sang."

            I ask, how are we to take this mytho‑poetic outburst? It
begs the question, how might a physicist express the same point? Consider this
from the renowned Sir Arthur Eddington, in Space, Time and Gravitation,
(Cambridge,
1920): "Where science has progressed the farthest, the mind has but
regained from nature what the mind has put into nature. We have found a strange
footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories one
after another to account for its origin. At last we have succeeded in
reconstructing the creature that has made the footprint, and lo, it is our
own."8     

            What both Emerson and Eddington posit is slowly,
tentatively, becoming addressed by the more daring minds of theoretical physics
and philosophy, like Evan Walker in his book The Physics of Consciousness,
who concludes that physical reality is connected to consciousness by means of a
single physically fundamental quantity. I suspect
Emerson, citing his Orphic poet, would add that since the Over‑soul is
pervasively present, then the universe exists and is sustained because mind
exists to support as well as observe it. As he said in "Fate:"  "This beatitude dips from on high down
on us, and we see. It is not in us so much as we are in it." 

 

Thank you

 

This essay has been expanded
from material contained in Chapter Four of Listening To Emerson, to be
published in hardcover by David R Godine in April, 2008.

 

______________________________________________________________________

  1. JMN
    v. IV, 49
  2. JMN, v. IV, 199‑200.
  3. Laura Dassow Walls, Emerson's Life in Science, Cornell
    U. Press, 2003, p. 86
  4. Stanley Cavell, Cities of Words, Harvard
    University Press, Cambridge, 2004, p.
    21.
  5. Robert Richardson, Emerson: The Mind on Fire, U. Of California Press,
    p. 382
  6. Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Knopf, New
    York, 2004, p. 472
  7. Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality, Jonathan Cape, London,
    2004, p. 1030
  8. Arthur Eddington, Space, Time and Gravitation, Cambridge, 1920, p.
    200.

Categories
Programs & Grants RWE Institute

Emerson: The Ideal in America

Announcing the first and only video biography of the man who is still the most quoted author in America, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson: The Ideal in America
Streaming video trailer  

Emerson: The Ideal in America
Feature Documentary – Length:  53 minutes – Format:  DVD

Spanning most of the turbulent 19th century, Emerson's life took him from a financially poor but intellectually rich childhood through an education at Harvard to early success as pastor of a prominent Boston Unitarian Church. But personal tragedy and his own doubts about organized religion set him on a journey of discovery that took him to Europe and deep into the philosophical traditions of the East as well as the West. Through his writings and lectures, he became one of the most influential figures of his time, inspiring presidents, other philosophers, and writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman. His central message of "the infinitude of the private man&#quot; opened the eyes of the men and women who read and heard him to their own unlimited potential.

  • Robert Richardson Jr, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire
  • Sarah Wider, Professor of English at Colgate University and President of the Emerson Society
  • Richard Geldard, senior advisor to RWE.org and author of The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Barbara Solowey, teacher and lecturer
  • Richard Grossman, author of A Year With Emerson
  • hosted by Jim Manley (RWE.org), directed by David Beardsley and produced by RWE Institute.

 

Bay Emerson Bancroft, an Emerson descendant and President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association, has called this film "…a well-told, imaginatively presented and uplifting account of Emerson's life and the development of his ideas…"

To purchase the DVD, or view a streaming video trailer, Click Here or the DVD box set to the left.

Order Emerson: The Ideal in America
 DVD $29.95
…Also insert the code: HDRZHDHE  for $10 discount.

Discounts for bulk orders over 10 DVDs are offered, over 50–much higher discount.  Excellent for Emerson Reading Circles, book stores, museums, classes, groups, associations, churches and the like.

Call (212) 354-2277, leave a detailed message or email query@rwe.org
 

If anyone has an Emerson item they'd like to see here, contact the webmaster.

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON, MAY 25, 1803

MAY TWENTY-FIFTH

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON, MAY 25, 1803
______

Once
again Emerson wrestles with formulating the concept of ‘the one in the
many, the many in the one,’ the Hindu principle enunciated in the
Bhagavad Gita, which he was reading – – – and re-reading

Who
shall define to me an Individual? I behold with awe & delight many
illustrations of the One Universal mind. I see my being imbedded in it.
As a plant in the earth so I grow in God. I am only a form of him. He
is the soul of Me. I can even with a mountainous aspiring say, I am
God, by transferring me out of the flimsy & unclean precincts of my
body, my fortunes, my private will; & meekly retiring upon the holy
austerities of the Just & the Loving — upon the secret fountains of
Nature. That thin & difficult ether, I can also breathe. The mortal
lungs & nostrils burst & shrivel, but the soul itself needeth
no organs – it is all element & all organ. Yet why not always so?
How came the Individual thus armed and impassioned to parricide, thus
murderously inclined ever to traverse & kill the divine life? Ah
wicked Manichee! Into that dim problem I cannot enter. A believer in
unity, a seer of Unity, I yet behold two.

A Year With Emerson
A Year With Emerson by Richard Grossman
by Richard Grossman
click book cover to puchase

Categories
Events and Conferences RWE Institute

UMASS Screening of RWE DVD – May 25, 2007

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute
invites you to

 in Boston

Film Screening and Conversation of
Emerson: The Ideal in America
at UMASS

Fri May 25
5pm – 7pm (2 hrs)
(EST)

(204th Anniversary of the
birth of Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The Founders Room
3545 Campus Center
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
 

 
The UMB Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta & The Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute Present:
"Emerson: The Ideal in America" Film Screening & Conversation with
Richard Geldard
, PhD. Independent Scholar, Sarah Wider,
PhD. (Colgate University), and moderator Kristen Bennett (UMB)

 Free.
Open to the Public


Please R.S.V.P.
 

 

For general questions email,

kristen.bennett@umb.edu
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For directions, go to:

http://www.umb.edu/parking_transport/directions.html



Click to R.S.V.P.