Emerson Is Medicine

Five o’clock. My disc of Lennon came a bit ago and Aesop was difficult. The carrier left it on the trailer step. I was engrossed with reading Emerson’s journals before the package came. He was very much a poet of time more than eternity, though he treated of both at once. He really denounces sensuality and sloth, these distractions from virtue and greatness, from generosity and liberality of character. But he is lecturing himself as much as anybody else. Even he fears being unmotivated while time slips away irrevocably. It makes me wonder also what I am waiting for. What ideal conditions must be in place before I’m inclined to do what is right? The time is now, always today. The passing of time goes in one direction only, and never can be stopped, never fixed or nailed down, dogmatized from shifting sands to a rock. The essence moves like wind and water, breeze and wave, even eroding any dogmatic monolith in the way. The rock stands but is changed and eventually worn down to residue, while time wings on, bringing opportunities only once. What then does Emerson deem to be permanent, if anything? The phenomenon of nature, it seems, and this is always moral, always virtuous. Virtue is truth, and life is the fleeting pursuit of freedom and greatness. Transcend the flesh to exalt what is excellent in humanity, our poetic temperament, what is true and beautiful: basically the sublime. Nature like speech uses us to further her ends of knowledge and wisdom, the ideal, the perfect: the Platonic.


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