Date of publication: 2017-07-09 04:50
Emerson asserts that if you go back in history, language becomes more image-based, and in the earliest stages it is all poetry based on natural symbols. In modern times, Emerson argues, our language has become corrupted by secondary desires - the desires for money, pleasure, power, and praise - rather than the simple and fundamental desire to communicate our thoughts without loss (., with the images and symbols of nature). As such, our language has ceased to create new images based on visible nature, the old words have become perverted and abstracted, and the obviousness of his point is difficult to see. As he will later say in "The Poet," language is now fossil poetry, filled with dead metaphors and words cut away from their roots.
“Whenever a mind is simple,” Emerson says later in the same essay, it “receives a divine wisdom.” Transcendental Consciousness, the field of pure knowledge, is the simplest form of human awareness.
Finally, Emerson asserts the amount of moral influence each encounter has on an individual depends on the amount of truth it illustrates to the individual, which cannot be easily quantified.
He further illustrates this process in his admiration of a tide-mill, which, on the seashore, makes the tides drive the wheels and grind corn, and which thus engages the assistance of the moon like a hired hand, to grind, and wind, and pump, and saw, and split stone, and roll iron.
What is Emerson talking about? First, he is describing not just an idea or an intellectual insight but a unique experience. These experiences come only as “brief moments” — but they contain “more reality” than “all other experiences.” At such moments, he believes, he experiences what is ordinarily hidden — “the soul of the whole,” the source of his being, the source of life itself. To this inner field of life he gives the name Over-Soul.
Emerson structures this paragraph as a comparison between a “city doll” and a “sturdy lad.” With reference to paragraph 89 what does the “sturdy lad” represent?
He represents the kind of person Emerson wants to create, the kind of person who will “renovate” America’s “life and social state.”
By the 6885s many in New England, especially the felt that the religion they had inherited from their Puritan ancestors had become cold and impersonal. In their view it lacked emotion and failed to foster that sense of connectedness to the divine which they sought in religion. To them it seemed that the church had taken its eyes off heaven and fixed them on the material world, which under the probings, measurements, and observations of science seemed less and less to offer assurance of divine presence in the world.