Nature; Addresses, and Lectures by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson is madly in love with the world, the life, the nature and it glows out of every word, sentence, comma, letter he has written. He loves life and respects the nature and human intelligence that much, he praises them in every way possible.

His style is impeccable, yet hard to grasp at once. It takes a couple or more dozen of pages to get used to how he paints with words, all the difficult nineteenth century terms and language that it is easy to lose focus at first. Yet once it gets you, it gets you completely. It’s as if the pages were just soaked in endorphin solution that enters through your eyes, hums in your ears and offers a feeling of euphoria from the poesy of his words.

It makes you feel like flying. It makes you want to take your life back in your hands and make a change, go for a walk, go back to your roots. It makes you want to do silly things and enjoy life, not to take things seriously, yet not to forget your duties nor responsibility, your mission nor purpose. He brings you an awareness of how things were to go wrong, and funnily, they apply to the present day as well. He is angry at the people not respecting the nature, yet it is hard to take personally nor to see what his true opinion is, because he expresses himself mainly by painting with words. He describes what he notices or understands, showing us the patterns; the way of illustrating what his mind sees is more relevant than the destination. It’s as if he never reveals where he stands – only the poesy of his mind.

Yet he still has strong views. The poetry makes him so humble we would forgive him even if he said something dogmatic or stupid. He loves the life, human intelligence and the nature so much, he calls out:

We can never be quite strangers or inferiors in nature. It is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. But we no longer hold it by the hand; we have lost our miraculous power; our arm is no more as strong as the frost; nor our will equivalent to gravity and the elective attractions. Yet we can use nature as a convenient standard, and the meter of our rise and fall.

The meaning I see in it, is that we have lost some connection with the nature, but since we are so intertwined with it, we can never escape it nor sterilize ourselves from it. Seeing today how our nature is polluted, we can predict the decadence of our civilizations. We have lost the connection, so we are weaker mentally and physically, and thereby ceased to see what goes around comes around, that nature is always mightier than the man; and nature is the indicator that should guide us to change our methods, habits and attitude.

Essentially, we could quote any of his sentences or paragraphs and find meaning of depth in them. His wisdom just glows through the pages. It is strange yet once again to realize how things used to be – that not much has changed. The same patterns are applied in our lives again and again, regardless the century, regardless the millennium.

And life goes on. Humans learn throughout their whole lives, yet still die stupid. We are smarter and more aware than our ancestors in some ways, yet it is encoded in our DNA to still do the same mistakes over and over again. Perhaps that is what makes life so enjoyable!

I wonder what mistakes Emerson ever made?  There’s hope in me his next essays and books will give some insight.

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