The society has annual meetings, which have been the occasion for addresses from the most distinguished scholars and thinkers of the day. What is nature to him? He is one who raises himself from private considerations and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. What is the one end which all means go to effect? He is the world's heart. The millions that around us are rushing into life cannot always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests. But suddenly, without observation, the selfsame thing unfurls beautiful wings, and is an angel of wisdom. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
Emerson observes the difference between recent actions and past actions. Every individual should, with full confidence, rely on his own instincts and should make those instincts prevail for the good of the world. Men with a mania for collecting rare and beautiful books. Hence the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and soul. The present age — the first half of the 1800s — is an age of criticism, especially self-criticism. Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm. He is the world's eye.
He is the world's heart. First, Emerson communicates the scholar's inevitable relationship with the natural world and the Transcendental learning process inherent in the observation of nature. By many considered the greatest of modern English poets. To ignorance and sin it is flint. The literature of the poor, the feelings of the child, the philosophy of the street, the meaning of household life, are the topics of the time. Nevertheless, renowned American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson thought the rewards of going your own way far outweighed the risks - a notion central to his landmark speech, ' The American Scholar'.
And what is that root? The actions and events of our childhood and youth are now matters of calmest observation. In nature, man learns to tie things together; trees sprout from roots, leaves grow on trees, and so on. Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. There is no work for any one but the decorous and the complaisant. Its laws are the laws of his own mind. They are for nothing but to inspire.
Authors we have, in numbers, who have written out their vein, and who, moved by a commendable prudence, sail for Greece or Palestine, follow the trapper into the prairie, or ramble round Algiers, to replenish their merchantable stock. Action is with the scholar subordinate, but it is essential. He must be an university of knowledges. In this distribution of functions the scholar is the delegated intellect. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion.
Does he lack organ or medium to impart his truth? The books of an older period will not fit this. The first rank in poetry was beyond his reach, but he secured the most honorable place in the second. The mind now thinks, now acts, and each fit reproduces the other. Everything that tends to insulate the individual—to surround him with barriers of natural respect, so that each man shall feel the world is his, and man shall treat with man as a sovereign state with a sovereign state—tends to true union as well as greatness. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing. History and exact science he must learn by laborious reading. Ideally, society labors together — each person doing his or her task — so that it can function properly.
It is one soul which animates all men. Is not indeed every man a student, and do not all things exist for the student's behoof? I do not see how any man can afford, for the sake of his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake. Events, actions arise that must be sung, that will sing themselves. Far too as her splendors shine, system on system shooting like rays, upward, downward, without center, without circumference,—in the mass and in the particle, Nature hastens to render account of herself to the mind. It can stand, and it can go.
Descartes began his speculations from a standpoint of absolute doubt. The society has annual meetings, which have been the occasion for addresses from the most distinguished scholars and thinkers of the day. There were four of importance: the Olympic, held every four years; the Pythian, held every third Olympic year; and the Nemean and Isthmian, held alternate years between the Olympic periods. But he saw and showed the connexion between nature and the affections of the soul. Emerson is confronting the nation on its continuous grip on England and European ways.