Ralph Waldo Emerson American Scholar Essay

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However, he did acknowledge that it is essential, focusing on the value of experiences in the life of a thinker.

He even went so far as to say the greatest value of action to the mind is like that of books, and better, since actions are also a great source of inspiration and 'Thinking (itself) is a partial act.' Emerson thought the office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances.

Have you ever wished that you could just do things how ever you wanted without having to worry about laws, rules, or other social pressures?

Sounds pretty nice in theory, but whether we like it or not, there will always be external consequences for our actions.

Where we might see a single farmer - unique and separate from everyone else - Emerson saw simply Man Farming.

Similarly, when he looked at the role of the scholar, he found Man Thinking.

One especially poignant observation that he made was that America was 'eat(ing) upon itself' in its state of confusion and greed leading up to the Civil War.

Ultimately, he knew that greed would be not just America's undoing, but that of the whole human race if slaves and scholars alike remained caged.

Of course, the function of a scholar is intellectual in nature, so Emerson had to begin his talk with an explanation of the various fundamental influences on the human mind.

Emerson saw nature as the first and most important influence on human thought.


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