Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo and Rachel!

Yesterday was Ralph Waldo Emerson's birthday. Tomorrow is Rachel Carson's. Great writers and thinkers ought to be remembered along with their words.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, along with Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and others made up the Transcendentalists. A description of Transcendentalism in the words of Ralph Waldo, "We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds...A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men."

More quotes from Emerson:

Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred.

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Good men must not obey the laws too well.

As we grow old…the beauty steals inward.

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson is sometimes called the Mother of the Modern Environmental movement, she published Silent Spring in 1962, alerting folk to the dangers of pesticides. She had an excellent way of writing about detailed and complex scientific issues in beautifully poetic language.

Some samples:

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Happy Birthday Rachel and Ralph, the world is richer for their work and your works.


lené said...

Two of my favorite writers--and I never thought about their birthdays before you posted over at whorled leaves. Thanks for the heads up and the great quotes. Hope you're having a good weekend. :)

Deb said...

I must have missed this post earlier; thanks for the good quotes! I've really been getting into Emerson lately.

Dan Trabue said...

Thank you both for stopping by.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Our "scripture" for the week, Dan?

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, daddio. And powerful, intriguing words of God, they are. You like?

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Self-serving words of man, Dan. Humanism is the aura.

Dan Trabue said...

You disagree with:
"Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred."?

Or with:
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."?

You don't find this challenging:
"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment."?

Which ones are self-serving? You don't think each of these thoughts aren't echoed in the Bible?

I think they're way cool and inspiring, you are free to think as you wish.

lené said...

I think they're way cool too, Dan. :)

Dan Trabue said...

THANK you, Miss Lene. You are reasonable and wise beyond your years. May you be blessed with smooth waters and strong oars.

lené said...

And may the paddle be with you too. :0)

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Have you ever heard of Ralph Waldo Trine?

His book, "In Tune with the Infinite"?

lené said...

D. Daddio, I haven't heard of Ralph Waldo Trine. I just did a quick websearch and read that he was inspired by Emerson, but the quote they posted with his brief bio didn't resonate with me the way Emerson's work does.

It really sounded like the self-help material that can lead to some dangerous emotional situations, especially when offered to people with cancer. I included one such quote of Trine's that I found below.

Because I haven't read his work, this quote may be taken out of context and my response may be totally inappropriate. For now, though, it brings me to reflect on Susan Sontag's book, Illness as Metaphor, which so gracefully articulates the danger in some of this "responsibility for our own destiny" thinking (...within yourself lies the cause of whatever enters your life...):

"The moment we fully and vitally realise who and what we are,
we then begin to build our own World even as God builds his."
"Within yourself lies the cause of whatever enters into your life.
To come into the full realization of your own awakened interior
powers is to be able to condition your life in exact accord with
what you would have it"
(from: "In Tune with the Infinite")

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I was given the book as a parting-gift from some very good British friends when I left the UK. They went to a lot of trouble to find it--an original 1910 printing. I treasure it for that rather than its content.

I read the book as a 21 year-old. Your perception is right on, lene'.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

After I had posted the last comment, I got the copy out, blew the dust off of it, and opened the cover to find that I had been mistaken on the date of the printing. It is actually an original 1904 printing.

1910 came from one of my Mark Twains.


Dan Trabue said...

Daddio, you like old books AND Mark Twain?! More commonalities!

Okay, so if you didn't like my Carson and Emerson quotes (for reasons you still haven't explained), then how's about some Twain quotes?

It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good -- and less trouble.

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere.

Who are the oppressors? The few: the king, the capitalist and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.

And finally, this whopper!

But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

lené said...

d.daddio--Wow--1904. That's very cool.

Nice quotes, Dan. I haven't read Twain since I was a kid.