Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Human Façade

From within or from behind a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all. A man is a façade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect, but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his actions, would make our knees bend.

When it breathes through the intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through his will it is virtue; when it flows through his affections it is love. And the blindness of the intellect begins, when it would be something of itself. The weakness of the will begins, when the individual would be something of himself. All reform aims, at some one particular, to let the soul have its way through us, in other words, to engage us to obey.

Of this pure nature every man is at some time sensible.

Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay, The Over-soul, explains the obscure force that shines through us. He calls it light, but it's the energy of consciousness shining through us. The human body is an organ for this energy. That energy is what Emerson calls the soul, but the name is only a way to describe a knowing, or an experience, so we can become aware of what we create. The genius, the virtue and the love that Emerson mentions are right below the surface of our thoughts. They wait patiently as impulses peaking through the contrast of each human experience. Our ability to use these impulses is controlled by our beliefs. We can believe those impulses don’t exist within us so we never think we use them, but they are always being used by the self that sits behind the human façade.

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