10 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2020
    1. I am merely a fragment of the Great Soul that surges within the boundaries

      Note how Emerson's "transparent eyeball" slips in through the back door here as Zora becomes "cosmic." Very interesting to think that the ecstatic mode that she enters via jazz opens up the kind of transcendence that Emerson derives from nature, from the "bare common."

  2. Aug 2020
    1. Universal Institutions of Humanity

      Contextualize: This passage is from a piece written (separate from but in reference) to reading the Epic of Gilgamesh. The work alludes to Gilgamesh's understanding of human fear of death puts fear into categories of institutions (generally religious tradition) that divides the order of man from nature itself. These traditions historically have either held a greater distance from the outer natural world or have centered around and incorporated it (indigenous peoples).

      Relate: Willemien Otten, in her book, 'Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking', approaches the division between nature and the institutions of man from a religious perspective, focusing mostly on the boundary of divinity written about in this passage (matrimony and burial as a part of a larger Divinity). She writes that religion has always "had trouble finding a proper role for nature" (therefore dividing it from human condition). She writes "...it seemed, as the order of nature, could only survive by repressing its more animal-like instinctual impulses. Otten describes human order as repressing nature, religion (Christianity) specifically, sought to tame nature in Genesis's divine imposition. Otten then states that in her more theophanic alternative view, nature will emerge not as rival to creation but as an anchor for it. Otten alludes to philospher, Eriugena's understanding of nature, describing 'natura' as dynamic and flexible- whereas, before, orthodox understanding of Divinity positioned God's providence over the spatiotemporal creation in which human history exists. In his work, Periphyseon, Eriugena gives emphasis enough to nature that it develops towards the divine, softening boundary between man and the natural.

      Eriugena seems to make the natural world into a more mental concept that allows man to incorporate it into religion (including matrimony and burial). This does not necessarily oppose the boundary between nature and man within Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh talks about the human condition as it is (all within the mind) and therefore either encourages relationship between man and earth or encourages a more fearful mindset.

      Though conceptualizing nature allows for destruction or neglect on beings that are not human, human ability to wrap one's mind around a force that is otherwise intimidating in actuality, may allow for coexistence despite the boundary.

      Otten later references Emerson's thought of nature is more so use of nature in human psychology to dissect the human soul.

      Otten, Willemien. Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson. Cultural Memory in the Present, 2020.

  3. Feb 2019
  4. Jan 2019
    1. Standing on the bare ground

      What happens to Emerson as he stands on this "bare ground"? What does he gain and what does he lose in this moment? What are some of the anxieties that lurk in this passage beneath the celebratory tone?

    2. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men’s farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title.

      Who owns the landscape, according to Emerson? How does this ownership work, and how does it differ from traditional ideas of property and ownership?

    3. Nature, in the common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf. Art is applied to the mixture of his will with the same things, as in a house, a canal, a statue, a picture. But his operations taken together are so insignificant, a little chipping, baking, patching, and washing, that in an impression so grand as that of the world on the human mind, they do not vary the result.

      How does Emerson define "nature" and how does his definition differ from traditional definitions?

    4. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth. In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design.

      What is implied about how we know what we know here? What might be some problems with this argument?

    5. OUR age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?

      What is the contrast in generations RWE sets up here? What is the problem with his generation in the middle of the 19th century?

  5. Apr 2017
    1. AndTaylornowtellsus:writingishaunted,foritiscomprisedofthe"spectralinterplayofparasitesandhosts"(196).Writingandlanguage-as-house-of-beingtherebyhaveincommonthesespectersandtheirhaunts.

      “I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me” -Emerson, Nature

  6. Feb 2017