Friday, August 28, 2015

History Of The Soul

The world exists for the education of each man. There is no age or state of society or mode of action in history to which there is not somewhat corresponding in his life. Everything tends in a wonderful manner to abbreviate itself and yield its own virtue to him. He should see that he can live all history in his own person. He must sit solidly at home, and not suffer himself to be bullied by kings or empires, but know that he is greater than all geography and all the government of the world: He must transfer the point of view from which history is commonly read, from Rome and Athens and London to himself and not deny his conviction that he is the court, and if England or Egypt have anything to say to him, he will try the case; if not, let them forever be silent.

He must attain and maintain that lofty sight where facts yield their secret sense, and poetry and annals are alike. The instinct of the mind, the purpose of nature, betrays itself in the use we make of the signal narrations of history. Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts. No anchor, no cable, no fences avail to keep a fact a fact. Babylon, Troy, Tyre, Palestine and even early Rome are passing already into fiction. The Garden of Eden, the sun standing still in Gibeon, is poetry thence forward to all nations. Who cares what the fact was, when we have made a constellation of it to hang in heaven an immortal sign? London, Paris and New York must go the same way. “What is History,” said Napoleon, “but a fable agreed upon.” This life of ours is stuck round with Egypt, Greece, Gaul, England, War, Colonization, Church, Court and Commerce, as with so many flowers and wild ornaments grave and gay. I will not make more account of them. I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Asia, Italy, Spain and the Islands; the genius and creative principle of each and of all eras in my own mind.


Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those words in his 1842 essay, History. If Emerson was physically alive today what would he think of the world we created in our minds? The world is a melting pot of distorted principles and self-absorbed convictions, and they are growing in the septic tank of monetary self-indulgence. We turn the history of our soul over to the money lords, and praise their selfishness. We hail our political kings and Knight the bureaucratic fanatics that snidely slash our freedom with swords of incompetence. We grant them God-speed. But we forget that God has no speed in a fabricated legal system organized by a hierarchy of fools.

Churches push the boundaries of truth as the judgmental cries of evangelical hypocrites try to separate the inseparable. We have lost our will to choice for ourselves and our minds are drowning in the bilge of uncertainty. Our minds sit on the shoulders of a choking planet that cries for a few clean breathes of air, but our organized self-destruction is bringing the planet and us to our knees. Our minds are starving, and our will is bending under the forceful claims of the wealthy corporations that serve the stone and forget the air. We are in hell, and we keep stoking the flames.

As Emerson points out, we live a fable and then relive it. We push the envelope of sanity and then lick the stamps of insanity. The taste of peace wallows in the powder-keg of vengeance and we kill what can’t be killed in order to appease our history.

We are nothing if we are not together in mind and spirit. The genius and the creative spirit that is the history of the soul is crying for justice. The justice of knowing all of this is a dream we choose to live. But dreams change when we are not servants to distorted images and when we take back our rightful place in this dream the history of the soul changes with us.

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