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Ry Fry – Teaching Philosophy #2: ‘Understand the Acorn’

By January 17, 2019Uncategorized

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, what does this quote mean?  Well, first, the obvious is that anything awe-inspiring, majestic, great, any amazing achievement, any amazing person, it all starts off from somewhere; and that somewhere usually starts off small and unassuming.  Now, granted, you can argue that everything starts from somewhere, but that is beside the point.  The main point in my mind is this: That anything that is great usually had a humble beginning.  To achieve anything great in life, you need to get started somewhere, somehow, even if it is a small beginning. What’s small today can one day be enormous. Your efforts can cause a “butterfly effect” as the seed that you plant ripens and grows. The seeds of nature and our own ideas have an endless potential, but one must plant them to start growing and flourish. At last your greatness will be revealed.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who led the transcendentalist crusade of the mid-19th century.  Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, MA. He studied at Harvard and also taught momentary. He then entered the ministry, where he was appointed to the Old Second Church in Boston. He soon became disenchanted and was unable to administer the sacrament after the death of his, then, nineteen-year-old wife, who had died of tuberculosis. Emerson resigned his pastorate in 1831.

Emerson became known for thought-provoking customary thought. In 1835, he married his second wife, Lydia Jackson, and established home in Concord, MA and had four children. Emerson became the primary spokesperson for Transcendentalism, the American philosophic and literary crusade. Transcendentalism was a reaction against scientific rationalism, centered in New England during the 19th century.  Emerson wrote in a poetic style, assembling his essays by recurring themes and images. On the contrary, his poetry is often called severe and patronizing. Amongst Emerson’s most well-known works are Essays, First and Second Series (1841, 1844). The First Series includes Emerson’s most celebrated essay, “Self-Reliance,” in which the writer coaches his listener to examine his relationship with God and Nature. To trust his/her own judgment above all others.

Emerson was a solid visionary. He refused to grant the presence of evil, which caused Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James, Sr., among others, to distrust his judgment. In spite of their skepticism, Emerson’s beliefs are of central importance in the history of American culture.  Ralph Waldo Emerson died modestly from complications with pneumonia on April 27, 1882.