Tuesday, February 28, 2006

emerson lishma

luckily for my job, the voiceless part of the stinking cold i have was during my day off. tomorrow, i can make use of the ample supply of tissues in my office as the catarrh comes to the fore. meanwhile, in between feeling a bit sorry for myself, mainly because my throat was too sore to enjoy singing marlene dietrich songs deeply and badly, i decided to read a book.

d. has noted that since we met, i have read an awful lot of childrens' books. ok i did reread all the harry potters again but that was because the paperbacks were next to her bed. and i discovered the 'lionboy' books, and 'inkheart'; and reread the philip pullman trilogy. today, however, for some strange reason, probably all the advil, i picked up a collection of emerson's essays and decided to read 'self reliance'. apparently i read some of this at university, but have no recollection of that whatsoever. o well. i couldn't sleep and this is what i read.

"to believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, - that is genius."


"trust thyself ... accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events."

at this point, i had to remind myself what transcendentalism was.

ok - so emerson was living in an era and an area where the forging of a truly american literary and philosophical identity was a contemporary cause. o dear i'm starting to sound a bit victorian. i guess what i am trying to say is that i can identify with his call to rebel against the status quo:

"society is a jointstock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. the virtue in most request is conformity. self-reliance is its aversion. it loves not realities and creators, but names and customs ...

...whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist. he who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."

wouldn't it be luverly to have the time and resources to speak out. enough money to be able to say no without fear, someone to clean and cook and wash for you, and someone to hold you and say 'there, there, m'love, they are all horrid and you are wonderful.'

nevertheless, despite his style coming across to me today as a pompous git, i rather like him so far. more, perhaps, when i have read more. time now to search through the medicine box and see if i still have any english sudafed ...

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