Thoreau’s Wish [Free Verse]

Caspar David Friedrich, Arctic Shipwreck (1824)

“I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible”

Henry david thoreau, Walden

Too many people wish that the world consisted
of those who held the same views as they -

who loved what they loved,
who believed what they believed,
who would do what they would do.

I can't imagine a more boring world than that.

If there aren't those with different:

ideas,
desires,
beliefs,
and values, 

then who will show me something new:
something that -- for good or for ill --
will change my world 
and advance my understanding.

If truth be told,
I'd just as soon spend time 
among the crazy sages who --
having rejected all programming --
will not be made prisoner to a train schedule,
let alone to a norm or convention or protocol.

The madmen who shaman one 
out of all mental conventions.

But such as they are hand forged,
each vibrating at his or her own wavelength --
hard to see and
 not easily found.

BOOK REVIEW: The Transcendentalist by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The TranscendentalistThe Transcendentalist by Ralph Waldo Emerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

Free Online: Emersoncentral.com

In this short essay (about ten pages,) Emerson lays out an argument for Idealism over Materialism, and then contends that it’s reasonable to excuse oneself from the economic and civic aspects of society in favor of a simple life of introspection. [e.g. As Thoreau did in his years at Walden Pond.]

Emerson opens by suggesting that Transcendentalism is just Idealism by a different name. Idealism being a philosophical stance which puts consciousness at the fore while proposing that there is something beyond [that transcends] our experience of sensory information. The arguments put forth in favor of Idealism include the fact that sensory illusions exist and the Kantian critique of Locke’s view that there’s no more to the intellect than that which is or was sensory experience; Kant argues that there’s intuition. Kant’s influence is considerable, and Emerson explains that even the term “Transcendentalism” is derived from Kant’s use of the term “transcendental.”

The latter part of the essay echoes Emerson’s masterwork, the essay “Self-Reliance.” It proposes that it’s perfectly laudable to take advantage of the greatest gift one has, one’s consciousness, to introspect and indulge one’s need to better understand.

I may have mixed views on Emerson’s ideas, but one can’t say he doesn’t use language and reason and passion to make compelling claims. I found this brief essay to be both thought-provoking and inspirational, and I’d highly recommend it.


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