Saturday, September 27, 2014

Emerson on Ideas and Facts

Ralph Waldo Emerson found: "every day's doubt is whether to seek for ideas or to collect facts. For all successful study is the marriage of thoughts and things. A continual reaction of the thought classifying the facts and of facts suggesting the thought" (JMN 5, 72). He described this also as making thoughts conform to things and things conform to ideas or principles. It leads for him an ever-expanding circle of taking note of things.

Needless to say, I have always found this Emersonian approach compelling, even if the results of the marriage or dialectical confrontation—if there is a difference—led me to a quite different outlook of life and mind.

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