Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heidegger and Emerson

First of all I just want to say wow!  I found this to be very motivating and particularly took interest to the part about Man Thinking and how books effect that.  I know at the very end Emerson states “We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.  The spirit of the American freeman is already suspected to be timid, imitative, tame” but I can not help but think of Heidegger in the part about Man Thinking.  When Emerson writes “Hence, instead of Man THinking, we have the bookworm.  Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution...” it instantly reminded my of Heidegger’s ideas about knowledge, truth and questions.  I interrupted that quote to mean that instead of Man thinking on his own, there are often book-worms how just look to absorb as much information out of books as possible.  But Emerson later states that books are of the past and “They are for nothing but to inspire”.  He also states that in order to be a scholar you have to be looking forward, not in the past, and books are ideas of the past.  I related this to Heidegger because of his idea about questions.  He stated that by just answering someone else questions you do not gain truth.  This is because, like books, the questions already stated are just a guide to help you think deeper about being and Dasein.  I also remember reading Heidegger talk about how taking all of the classes available will not give you knowledge.  This I related to mention of the book-worm because both are examples of men trying to take in as much preexisting knowledge as possible, when Emerson and Heidegger are stating that by doing that alone you are not a “scholar” or you do not “gain knowledge”.  In both instances you have to go forth and do own your own; whether it be think or questions to be answered or discover actions and make them thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I was reminded of Heidegger while reading this, too. In fact, Emerson says (of reading books), "We hear, that we may speak." Heidegger, in "The Way to Language," says, "Speaking is of itself a listening." They're talking about different things, but generally I think Emerson and Heidegger would agree upon the extent that the past influences the modern man (or in Emerson's case, scholar). Emerson, of course, takes this further, saying that to purely study the past does the scholar no good, though it is a good foundation upon which one may build a more progressive, thoughtful self.