Emerson: The Ideal in America
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The first video biography of "America's Founding Thinker," Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's belief in "the infinitude of the private man" still resonates with spiritual seekers today. Most people know Emerson's essay, "Self-Reliance," but there is much more to the fascinating life of the man and his circle, which included Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Margaret Fuller. You will never look at Emerson--or yourself--quite the same way again.
Includes interviews with Robert D. Richardson Jr., author of "Emerson: The Mind on Fire;" Richard G. Geldard, author of "God in Concord;" Barbara Solowey, teacher and lecturer; Richard Grossman, author and psychotherapist; and Sarah Ann Wider, Professor of English, Colgate University.
"Why should we not also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?" (Nature, 1836)
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I was also enchanted by the interviews with the authors and teachers who speak about Emerson with such praise, fervor and reverence, of which I am in great accord with.
Not only is it an illuminating portrait of one of our great early thinkers, but it was an epiphany for me to discover more about Emerson's life that I was not previously aware of. I had read quite a bit of Emerson's work, particularly his essays such as "Nature," "Self-Reliance," and "The Oversoul," and found them to be immensely inspirational, profound, erudite, and sagacious.
As well, through this documentary, I came to discover that not only was he an superb writer, philosopher, and thinker, but a human being of great ethics and moral fiber. He was an early advocate not only for women's rights, but also for Native American and African American rights as well.
Yet I was not aware about much of the man himself nor of his life. I learned through this presentation how Emerson had traveled to Europe in search of the scope of intellectual history and it's scope and breadth. It discussed how Emerson went in search of Europe's great minds, poets, philosophers, and thinkers, which consequently inspired Emerson to formulate a philosophy of his own. Through the eastern wisdom of Hinduism, the philosophy of ideal of Plato, the precepts of transcendentalism of Kant, and the poetry of insight of the European romantic writers of the 19th century, Emerson weaves this rich tapestry with that of his own discoveries. This then inspires the further evolution of Emerson's own ideas, which he brings back to New England to present in future essays, books, and lectures so as to illuminate others in his circles, and eventually into the consciousness of America..