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Emerson used to be a talented pupil and humanitarian who wrote many essays trying to convey what's referred to as the Transcendentalist ideology. He idea that "the entire of Nature is a metaphor or picture of the human brain" and sought to unite nature and the soul.

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Additional resources for Emerson's essays: notes

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Emerson's definition of Reason is markedly different than ours today. For us, Reason means the process by which we logically and rationally deduce different phenomena; for him, however, Reason is tied to intuiting how nature, which he believes is a moral teacher, offers ethical and spiritual insights. Reason is linked to intuition, Understanding to rationality. Every natural object offers a sermon on some spiritual or divine reality. For example, the fisherman learns firmness, which is morally good, from observing centuries-old sea-beaten rocks: To be firm about something is a morally correct way of acting and shows to what extent a person will defend what he or she thinks is right.

A certain poet meaning Amos Bronson Alcott (17991888), an American educator and philosopher; Alcott was Emerson's neighbor and an admirer of Emerson's essay on nature. Nebuchadnezzar (d. C. Hohenlohe Emerson makes reference to Leopold Franz Emmerich, prince of Hohenlohe (17941849), a reputed miracle healer. Shakers a religious organization originating in England in 1747; early members believed in miracle cures and exhibited hysterical manifestations of being possessed. Animal Magnetism the term given to hypnosis by the pioneer experimenter Franz Anton Mesmer (17341815), an Austrian physician.

In contrast, scientists, and Page 19 especially mathematicians, rely on abstract reasoning rather than physical observation. Philosophers dismiss nature's objects "like an outcast corpse" once they are through using them, and scientists fail even to begin with an object as the starting point for their work. The theme of accessibility is present in this section when Emerson notes that although great ideas are accessible to few men and women, all persons are capable of training themselves in the art of critical thinking.

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