Eli's Reviews > Essays

Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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it was amazing

I would like to preface this review by saying that the body of the review has a lot "spiritual" talk and some people may find my words trite and very syrupy about my inner thoughts on life. So if you are feeling cynical right now, I think you will have a good chuckle. And, if you are like me, someone who always is searching, then maybe you will relate.


Growing up I've always been hopscotching from book to book looking for the tome that could lead my life. When I was 10 or 11 I began pulling the books off my father's bookshelves. And from these books I began pulling finding names like Plato, Kant. Tons of Buddhist and Hindi spiritual epics lined out living room shelves. And my silly-putty brain began copying single phrases that later became the sign-posts that would direct my decision making.


At first, I discovered a book of eastern philosophy. I think it was the Hymns of the Rig Veda. I can't recall any part of this except for the mantra, "The Usefulness in Unusefulness." The metaphor for this idea was a tree that bears sweetfruit and strong wood is destroyed and used, while the tree that bears poison leaves and brittle wood was allowed to live in undisturbed peace. This wasn't the smartest idea to cherish as a pre-teen.

In high-school I was advised to read the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by my AP Psych teacher. This book was a riveting account of one man survival during the holocaust. His survival lead to his practice of his own school of therapy called logotherapy. This new school of psychology is summed up in one quote:

Man can survive any how as long as he is given a why to live for.
--Nietzsche

I was blown away by the complex, human, and tender power of such a simple sentence. I re-read the book every year for three years and returned to precious passages in my greatest grayest moments.

However, I have found a new spiritual muse in my mid-twenties.
Ralph Emerson has become the lighthouse for my soul. Emerson writes with Whitman's American aesthetic applied to eastern spiritual practice in accepting the beauty of the single day and the single life. Each essay broaches very general topics like Self-Reliance, Art, Politics, etc. But, the body of these essays jump off the pages and empowers me like I was at my own personal tent revival.

It wasn't a born again moment or anything that heavy, but the reading allowed fogged windows to clear and permitted my perception to change. I read most of the essays in the middle of the night and at 3am I felt intimate and open to the world all at once.

Ralph inspired in one essay and redefined by the next. I will cling to these essays for a long time I feel, or, at least the feeling of reading and completing these essays will stay and, with hope, the inspiration I grafted onto my soul will blend into myself for a long long time.

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Reading Progress

January 25, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 2, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by John (new) - added it

John Smith "Undisturbed peace " :)


message 2: by Tg (new)

Tg I also recommend to you-- Admiral James Stockdale's "Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot "---Thanks for your review it was very in-depth


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