Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
“A man in debt is so far a slave” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the early 1800s a philosophical movement took root in the Eastern United States. It began due to the disapproval against the intellectualism and spirituality during that time.
It’s characteristics were:
1) Self Reliance
2) A connection to nature
To transcend the real world one must contemplate nature.
Everything is a reflection of God.
Instead of being a follower one was better off entertaining the idea of individualism and self-reliance.
True feelings and intuition were superior to book knowledge.
Instinct would give one a better understanding of God’s Spirit.
It was an American literary, political and philosophical movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about Transcendentalism in great depth. Other noted authors were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker.
Transcendentalists believed one should cut ties with organized religion and politics and become an independent thinker in order to achieve their best. It was also believed that organized religion and political parties led to the corruption of the purity of an individual.
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
However Transcendentalism relied heavily on an individual’s cognitive ability or intuition. It was thought that those trying to yield to conformity at the time, became unhappy and dissatisfied.
Is Transcendentalism still in existence today?
That is a good question. There are those that say yes and there are plenty of no votes. It obviously isn’t as popular as it was in the nineteenth century.
Simplicity can be seen by acts of individual kindness and honesty. The importance of nature has not faded through the years. It is alive and well in today’s world. The beauty of nature still inspires and awakens the spirit of many individuals. Self-reliance and confidence isn’t as prevalent as it used to be but still exists to some degree. As far as nonconformity it is pretty much nonexistent but can be found in the “preppers” and those who choose to sell everything and live off the grid and become self reliant.
If you would like to learn more about Transcendentalism I urge you to read Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Be kind to everyone and spread the love.
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Merriam-Webster defines self-reliance as reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities.
When I hear “self-reliance I think of the early pioneers and the hardships they had to endure. They were pretty much able to take care of themselves. They raised and hunted their own food, played doctor, teacher and were carpenters. They had to be that way in order to survive.
In today’s world self- reliance seems to have left the building. Sad part is that children of today aren’t being given a chance to be self-reliant. The parents just don’t want to take the time out of their busy schedule to teach them. Grandparents have it in their minds that they have to do everything for them, be their best friend and by all means don’t hurt their feelings. Both sides argue that the child isn’t responsible enough but at the same time they aren’t teaching the child responsibility. All of this is done with good intentions however, the child is the one who is losing and will have no ideal how to do things for themselves. They grow up expecting people to do everything for them and . When I look into my crystal ball I don’t see a very good future for them.
Then we have the government using public assistance to enslave John Q Public. Why? They don’t want us to even entertain the idea of self-reliance. Keep us from attaining it and we hand them the control that gives them the upper hand if they need it. Ok, settle down. Quit laughing so hard. Maybe I am getting senile but it is happening more and more as folks lose their jobs. Public Assistance, the New Form of Self-Reliance! by your Congressional Representatives.
“Over the years, Americans in particular have been all too willing to squander their hard-earned independence and freedom for the illusion of feeling safe under someone else’s authority. The concept of self-sufficiency has been undermined in value over a scant few generations. The vast majority of the population seems to look down their noses upon self-reliance as some quaint dusty relic, entertained only by the hyperparanoid or those hopelessly incapable of fitting into mainstream society.” – Cody Lundin
I don’t think folks put enough emphasis on self-reliance. Anyone who lived during the “Great Depression” can tell you how important it is. Nobody seems to understand it can happen again and seem to be complacent with the government taking care of them. My way of thinking is I would rather be in control of my outcome in that situation and trust no one else with my surviving. Just look how they take care of our veterans. Still feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking of them taking care of you when the SHTF?
Self-reliance also involves one thinking for themselves and not letting anyone else or the government tell you how to think. It also necessitates for one to be prepared for whatever comes at them.
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln (Parents and grandparents should have this one taped to their mirror so they read it every morning before they start their day. Just saying, if the child is capable of doing it then why are you?)
“If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me and you and your time are deeply appreciated. I take this time to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and good times with family. As you go through the holidays don’t forget to spread the love.
“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.” – Laura Gilpin
I was finally afforded an opportunity to spend some time on the Big River. I decided to kayak and fish the St. Francois State Park area of the river. I went on a Thursday so I had the park pretty much to myself. I was even able to accommodate myself with some time to read some of Emerson’s work. The only distraction I had was the chirping of the crickets and the crackling of the fire.
The river was really low. It was hard to fish and float. I did manage to catch some fish though. Not very big but when you are fishing with an ultralite with 4 pound test they don’t have to be very big to have fun catching them. I did catch enough to consume for supper on the second day.
My time spent on the river is always magical and mesmerizing. It has been that way since I was a snotty nosed kid. I cherish the world of the river and the way it can recharge my spirit and soul. To see the fall painting that Mother Nature had brushed onto the foliage was a site to behold.
The first day on the river I never crossed paths with another person. I had the river all to myself and it is hard to explain what a great feeling it is. My mind races trying to take in all the wonderful things that I am surrounded by everything grabbing my attention at once. Even though I have been here before I feel like a child in a candy store.
I wish I could explain the “peaceful easy feeling” that I experience upon every visit to the river. It is quite refreshing and it gives one a great opportunity to find themselves.
The downside of the river is that everything cooked on an open fire tastes amazing so therefore one tends to eat too much.
Funny how many times I have read this book and when I get out on the river and clear my mind of all the garbage it has accumulated since the last visit, I find something I have missed. Emerson did not believe that one could simply change society by changing the laws, or by imposing new regulations. For one to effectively change the laws of a state, the minds of the citizens must be changed first through culture or education. Forgive me for getting off subject. This is food for another blog on another day.
I am a realist and I know the river doesn’t work as well for some as it does me. Not everyone is comfortable on the river and not everyone likes to fish. I urge you though to find your “river” in life, no matter what it is. Then share it with the rest of the world. Spread the love.
I also realize not everyone likes reading Emerson. In closing I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it. I wish you luck in finding your “river” and “Emerson”.
“Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. Its progress is only apparent, like the workers of a tread-mill. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich. it is scientific; but this in not amelioration. For everything that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts and loses new instincts.” Self Reliance Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I first read this I thought what do you mean society never advances? Has Mr. Emerson lost his mind? I spent the next couple of weeks hashing his writing over and over in my mind. Then just like the cartoon, a light bulb went off over my head. I have to agree with Mr. Emerson that “Society never advances”. Oh my gosh I could hear all the eye rolls out there. You think I have lost it now.
Let’s think about it. We have had several technological advances over the years however, has our society advanced? Our clothes, hair styles, automobiles, etc. have changed, but has society advanced? I think not. I know we could argue that point all day. I could agree that in some areas it has advanced but it has digressed in a lot of areas too. In today’s society it seems that human life was valued more 100 years ago than it is today. Children were certainly better behaved then and knew respect. Jobs were certainly harder and a handshake was better than a contract today. Life was harder but at the same time it was simpler.
Christianity was even different. Today a lot of religious faiths are more liberal than they were 100 years ago. Religion wasn’t a big business then either. My great grandfather was a minister and he had to have a job to support his family which was pretty much the norm then. The Bible didn’t change, society did. Society was open to a new set of beliefs and new interpretations of the Word of God. Incomes became larger so they were able to give more money to the churches. In essence the Word of God was interpreted differently to meet new life style changes that were happening in a changing society. Now please don’t get a bur under your saddle, I am not arguing religion and I am not saying that 100 years ago they were right and today they are wrong. I am not taking sides. The point of this blog is to bring awareness to Mr. Emerson’s works hoping that someone might pick up one of his books and read it. If I offended anyone I apologize.
There have been many protests and riots throughout the years and it amazes me how society has changed so much in its view of such events.
On May 4, 1970 unarmed college students Kent State University were protesting the Vietnam War when 29 Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds at the protesters. Four students were killed and nine wounded. In the days that followed 4 million students, universities, high schools and colleges, went on strike in protest of the shootings.
On August 10, 2014, the day after Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, riots and protests started and lasted for two weeks and two days. The Missouri National Guard was called in but stationed some distance from the riots and were not used to stop the looting and destruction. Eric Holder even got the DOJ involved and they confirmed that Officer Wilson shot Brown in self defense. Then in June of 2017 Michael Brown’s family was awarded $1.5 million in a wrongful death law suit.
I could go on and on but I think these are examples of a society that are constantly changing. It is also happening in the field of education, music, medicine, etc.. I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading and if you haven’t read Emerson yet, I hope you now have the desire to pick up one of his books.
“The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are always inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson : Excerpts From Nature
(Bourbeuse River at Union, MO)
The river awakens a reverence within me. I am mesmerized by its beauty and intrigued by the mystery the water carries with it. As the water makes its way by me I realize that same water will never pass by there again. It came from somewhere upstream. Maybe a feeder creek or even from the very beginning of the river. What has it seen? If it could talk what stories would it tell? Where has it been and where did it come from?
My dream is to float the Big River and the Bourbeuse River from their beginning to their end. Just so happens both rivers empty into the Meramec River. Two of my friends, Mark Nelson and David Tripp, are planning on joining me for a week long float on the Big River. Really looking forward to it. If you have never consumed a meal cooked along the river, you have no idea what you are missing.
Thanks for reading. Be kind to one another and share the love. God Bless you one and all.
Emerson wrote in his journal, ” I have heard a clergyman of Maine say that in his Parish are the Penobscot Indian, and that when any one of them In summer has been absent for some weeks a-hunting, he comes back among them a different person and altogether unlike any of the rest, with an eagle’s eye, a wild look, and commanding carriage and gesture, but after a few weeks it wears off again into the indolent drone like apathy which all exhibit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I lie here in bed reading these words I can hear the wind howling outside my window. It is not long before my mind is filled of memories of past summers fishing and kayaking on the river. The very source that awakens my spirit and cleanses my soul. My significant other, her daughter and grandson also have a love for the river and I cherish our time together on the river. I was lucky enough to share some river time with good friends David Tripp, Mark Nelson and his grandson. We had a rather “large time”.
I always come back from my river expeditions with renewed energy, a new love for the simple things, dreams that were rekindled, a strut in my walk and a “giddy up” in my “get a long”. The fires of desire were once again burning.
When I think of these times of healing the mind, body and soul, I think of a candle. It can only burn so long before it burns out. Then we have to relight.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless each and every one of you.