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His efforts in this direction included the self-financed publication of a pamphlet entitled "Nature" in This essay, only five hundred copies of which were printed and these took some six years to be distributedreceived little initial notice but effectively articulated the philosophical underpinnings of the subsequently widely influential New England Transcendentalism movement.
Emerson's first substantial publication was a volume of Essays that issued, privately funded by Emerson and some of his friends, from the presses in There were twelve essays in this volume the very first being one entitled "History".
And where it cometh, all things are; And it cometh everywhere. There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same.
He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand.
Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent. Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days.
Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events.
But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time.
A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts.
The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.
This human mind wrote history, and this must read it. The Sphinx must solve her own riddle.
If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time. As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours.
Of the universal mind each individual man is one more incarnation. All its properties consist in him.
Each new fact in his private experience flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises of his life refer to national crises. Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind, and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.
Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be a private opinion again, it will solve the problem of the age. The fact narrated must correspond to something in me to be credible or intelligible. We as we read must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner, must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly.
What befell Asdrubal or Caesar Borgia is as much an illustration of the mind's powers and depravations as what has befallen us. Each new law and political movement has meaning for you. This throws our actions into perspective: It is the universal nature which gives worth to particular men and things.
Human life as containing this is mysterious and inviolable, and we hedge it round with penalties and laws. All laws derive hence their ultimate reason; all express more or less distinctly some command of this supreme, illimitable essence.Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay - History Essays ~ first series, Ralph Waldo Emerson resigned as an Unitarian minister in and subsequently tried to establish himself as a lecturer and writer.
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In a remote corner of El Salvador, investigators uncovered the remains of a horrible crime — a crime that Washington had long denied. The villagers of El Mozote had the misfortune to find themselves in the path of the Salvadoran Army's anti-Communist crusade. I like the faith message that I get out of the "literary device" viewpoint.
My only minor quibble is that the order of Genesis 1 is close enough to the natural scientific order.