Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Delving Into Emersonian Thought

I wrote this short response after reading "Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson as part of my writing-intensive class "The Environmental Vision"

The Outdoor Cathedral - Delving Into Emersonian Thought

    Having never read any of the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, or even being exposed to his core ideals, I found myself thoroughly enjoying Nature. I was introduced to transcendentalism in high school through the works of Thoreau, and in college through the study of Kantian philosophy. I immediately connected with the sort of rejection of the current state that these authors all portrayed.
    Within Nature, one truly gets to see the extent that Emerson believes in the sacredness and beauty of nature “ is an abstract or epitome of the world. It is the result or expression of nature, in miniature...The world thus exists to the soul to satisfy the desire of beauty.” Emerson viewed the world as the centerpiece of human existence in a time period where the natural world was often shifted to the peripheral.
    I personally strongly connect with Emerson on his value of small, everyday events “Not less excellent, except for our less susceptibility in the afternoon, was the charm, last evening, of a January sunset...the air had so much life and sweetness, that it was a pain to come within doors.” The simple joy of enjoying a sunset is oft not realized in a society so preoccupied with constantly producing and consuming. There is a zen-like essence in Emerson’s worldview that tells one it is not only alright to stop and enjoy nature, but it should be commonplace.
    I try to practice the mindfulness of the often overlooked within my daily life, and am inspired to find a work that was written nearly two hundred years ago to be still so relevant today.

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