Saturday, March 31, 2012
He begins his "descriptive psychology" by creating a definition of phenomenology by negation, in part, I believe, because we can never truly "define" anything that exists in its entirety (performativity?). He tells us what phenomenology is not, and it is definitely not science: "I am, not a "living creature" nor even a "man," nor again even "a consciousness" endowed with all the the characteristics with zoology, social anatomy or inductive psychology recognize in these various products of the natural or historical process-- I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment." Ponty believes that people cannot be defined by scientific schema because we created them. Much like Heidegger's mention of our human nature to divide our world up into categories that do not naturally present themselves, science is an equally incomplete means of defining the world or our being in the world. However despite the fact that we may not be rooted in scientific schema, I personally would argue we may still in part be defined, and even enriched by it, (rather than diminished), much the same way as our individual existence in part defines the ever present existence of our world. I believe much of the greatness in life comes from both our ability and inability to define our world, for it is that which gives us infinite variety.
In part this quotation reminded me of exactly that, and of Ponge: "Science has not and never will have, by its nature, the same significance qua form of being as the world which we perceive, form the simple reason that it is a rationale or explanation of the world." If we define an apple in scientific or in historical or poetic terms, we still cannot get closer to appleness. HOWEVER! As a people we can get entirely intimate with apple measurements, apple heritage, and apple poem. Which is exactly why we do such things :) People cannot fathom all of the ways of knowing or defining any part of our natural wold and therefore, "the demand for a pure description excludes equally: 1. the procedure of analytical reflection on the one hand, [because it is an act and therefore always in flux or transition (not fixed as 'truth' should be)] and 2. that of scientific explanation on the other. [because it is so limited]."
After this Ponty talks extensively about Analytical Reflection as well as Perception. "Analytical reflection starts from our experience of the world and goes back to the subject, (consciousness), as to a condition of possibility distinct from that experience, revealing the all-embracing synthesis as that without which there would be no world." The world of possibility beyond our experience is the only world because we cannot experience everything in every way. I look at the "all embracing synthesis" here as a variation of the over-soul. Something that levels the playing field between all things, where all relations and possibilities are equal. But I think I may be confused here. Anyhow, Ponty argues that Analytical Reflection wants to find "ground" as Heidegger would call it, a stable and enduring truth within or possibly without man. However reflection is by nature rooted in "impregnable subjectivity" and therefore inadequate for seeking truths. "My reflection cannot be unaware of itself as an event, and so it appears to itself in the light of a truly creative act, of a changed structure of consciousness," while, "The real has to be described, not constructed or formed" because it is there before any possible analysis of ours.
There is then a change in topic a couple of times. For instance Perception is described as non-deliberate and instantaneous and therefore not on the same standing as action or understanding. Despite the fact that we believe perceiving to be an act, it is entirely unintentional, we cannot help smelling and seeing and hearing and feeling our world (unless otherwise impaired). I believe he is saying at one point that it is our perception that allows us to know that we exist, although I believe any argument about whether or not we exist is shallow and pedantic. Anyhow he goes on to discuss how despite the fact that our Analytical reflections are constantly seeking truth of "inner man" that our most base ability of perception shows us that there is no "inner man" because "man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself." We cannot remove ourselves from it.
At one point Ponty talks about imagination and creation but I can't exactly understand what he is getting at, though I feel like I like it because it relates somewhat to what Dresden Codak made me think of about, the transformation of the ordinary into symbols and relation to abstract or seemingly irrelevant thought based on experience. I'd like to talk about what he is trying to say about imagination in class.
The only thing I got from the paragraph beginning on 279 is that Ponty believes that it is our active meaning-giving operation that defines consciousness and that "reduction" has something to do with the fact that the world is "an indivisible unity of value" (an idea we have discussed before), and within it each individual consciousness is not only equal but indistinguishable because of their identical and unavoidable function and relativity to the earth.
Ok. I'm out of steam. Hope there was something useful in that. I'll write more when I finish reading.
In our discussions in class, I’ve been relating pragmatism to perspectivism and I did the same thing with Merleau-Ponty but in reverse. I know that Ponty isn’t strictly perspectivism (after all, this section is entitled “What is Phenomenology”, not “What is Perspectivism”), but much of his discussion reminds me of perspectivism, particularly this: “All my knowledge of the world, even my scientific knowledge, is gained from me own particular point of view, or from some experience of the world without which the symbols of science would be meaningless” (277).
Within the first paragraph of this reading, I found a quick connection back to James and pragmatism. Ponty says, “[phenomenology] tries to give a direct description of our experience as it is, without taking account of its psychological origin and the casual explanations which the scientist, the historian, or the sociologist may be able to provide” (276). We discussed James and pragmatism and what I got from that discussion is almost exactly was Ponty is saying—that we should analyze things in how they relate to us and our experiences with them. We should not analyze things simply from a scientific point of view because really, that means nothing if it has little to do with us and something’s effect on us.
Also, since I keep bringing Nietzsche up in class, I figured I might as well here too. I found a particular sentence that reminded me strongly on Nietzsche and his views on perspectivism and what perspectivism does. Ponty writes that, “to seek the essence of perception is to declare that perception is, not presumed true, but defined as access to truth” (282). Nietzsche wrote that perspectivism eliminated any kind of objective truth to begin with, but perspectivism stood as a constant invitation to discussing and a search for something close to an objective truth. I believe Ponty is declaring the same thing in calling perception “access to truth”.
With that in mind, I really want to tie him to James' Pragmatism. James focused on how 'true' is a property assigned by humans and it has nothing to do with whether things exist. Ponty is trying to decipher what the essences are according to him, therefore assigning them a truth that relates only to him. Also, both share the relational epistomology. "I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment; instead it moves out towards them and sustains them, for I alone bring into being for myself." (page 277) In other words, we decide what we consider/how much we include in our world and it is through our experiences that we know it. He doesn't have to know exactly what they are. "My field of perception us constantly filled with a play of colors, noises and fleeting tactile sensations which I cannot relate precisely to the context of my clearly perceived world, yet which I nevertheless immediately 'place' in the world." (page 278)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Anyhow, in the first several panels of this strip Kimiko mentions "vital memories suspended by the mundane: a smell, a phrase, maybe an old song" or in her case the owl faced puppet. I was just thinking about how interesting it is that the ordinary is so frequently imbibed with our own personal, yet sometimes entirely irrelevant histories and experiences. We are associative creatures and its interesting to think about what happens to the ordinary when we make it into a symbol of something else, especially when the symbol is personal or intimate rather than archetypal.
I know we talked about this in class but I particularly enjoyed the bit about the saunterer's apple and the necessity to eat it out in the November air which is, "the sauce it is to be eaten with." It reminds me of Heidegger and Emerson's discussions of mood and begs the question, does our mood influence sensory perception or does sensory perception influence our mood? Although I suppose neither really matters. I feel like this is a common experience, not only with apples but with many things in life. Certain movies are better watched in certain company, restaurant's have better food depending on how hungry you are or what you were doing at the time, etc... Thoreau makes the world seem to revolve around the apple, all its subtleties and influences, he make it appear larger than life, makes you want to take a bite and sit in deep thought about every sensation that arises from it. And maybe that's what it takes to really enjoy life. Thoreau seems to be able to get close to the apple without bringing us to that precarious nebulous place and I find this fascinating. How does he do that? Are we simply transported by his passion? His thoroughness and ability to highlight subtleties? I'm not sure, but now I can't stop thinking about strawberries because I feel the same way about those as he does about apples.
Wild vs. domestic strawerries
the pop of the very best being plucked from the bush
dark vs. light stawberries
late vs. early season berries
wet vs. dry season berries
strawberry stains on your hands and lips and clothes
the bugs and animals they attract
How every time we've tried to grow strawberries deer come into our yard
the smell of strawberries
I guess I don't know of many strawberries in history or literature though...
Sunday, March 18, 2012
I can only speak for myself, but my initial thought was that the final man had the worst experience of the three. I do not mean worst in the sense that he did not enjoy himself, but instead that there was a right way or at least a spectrum of "rightness" regarding having this experience, and compared to the other men's experiences, his was somehow wrong. James certainly appears to support this claim; "The man of genius is he who will always stick in his bill at the right point, and bring it out with the right element..." (12). And earlier, he says, "The most important element of these fringes is, I repeat, the mere feeling of harmony or discord, of a right or wrong direction in the thought" (10).
What is it, then, that makes one man in one situation make one choice-- the "right" one-- and another man in the same situation make another-- the "wrong" choice? Is the second man not attuned to the "harmony" of his thoughts? Or is his "harmony" of a lesser quality than the first man's? And in either case, how could we blame the second man or praise the first if their thoughts are comprised of their experiences and determined by mere "habits of attention" (12)? I am sounding like Schopenhauer here, who James criticizes; "Schopenhauer, who enforces his determinism by the argument that with a given fixed character only one reaction is possible under given circumstances, forgets that, in these critical ethical moments, what consciously seems to be in question is the complexion of the character itself. The problem with the man is less what act he shall now resolve to do than what being he shall now choose to become"(13). My question is this: is "what being he shall now become" really a choice one can make? It seems to me that deciding "what act [I] shall now resolve to do" is in quality no different a thought than deciding "what character [I] shall now become," and so there seems an injustice here. The assumption one makes in calling one choice "right" and another "wrong" is that every man understands this distinction and that rightness is absolute. James doesn't deal in absolutes, so I don't understand how rightness and wrongness figures into his discussion, and if rightness and wrongness are subjective, as he seems to say, than it would follow that we could not fault someone for making the wrong choice-- to wrap this up, we couldn't fault the fourth vacationer, for example, for having his detached and somber experience.
And yet, it seems, we still do.
No shoes, I took them, but they weren't used. Tied to my pants with a small ribbon. Pink and overly cutesy, a wrapper from my care package by my niece. We're so different, despite only 6 years age in between. The difficulty of walking while taking notes on what you're thinking. The difficulty of writing stream of consciousness while concentrating on it. As I write down the last thing, new things pop up in my mind. I hope I don't get mistaken by zombies, running around in the woods. Broken bottle remains of a Saint Patrick's Day. Saint and alcohol. Wisdom in a beer bottle. Rocky and dry paths are better than the cold moist mud of the forest.
I sat by the stream ad tossed in rocks, smooth granite or crystal, so unlike the rocks already in place. What is this equivalent of? (edit: talking about the reading where James talks about there can be debris in the stream, vivid memories from the past, but free water still flows around them.) False planted memories, the rocks eroding and far down stream a geologist finds stares at the granules with confusion. "This wasn't here before. Was it just uncovered from it's shale cage or has it been tossed in by those looking for the thrill of a splash." But I never actually sat down, it was all in my head, nor had the rocks to toss, though I paused to linger in the cool air of a place where the sun left behind and taste that smell that only the damp spaces have: laughing as a small boy and a my little pony floated down the stream in a popcorn bucket. That didn't happen either.
I don't think of death or taxes, nor any philosophy, only where best to place my poor toes. Why am I singing this out in my head? [The packet] speaks of consciousness flowing together to 'erase' the empty times where you don't think. I wonder if this is happening as I chase rivulets of water down the river with my eyes. What happened in my head the last five minutes? I don't enjoy standing in the middle of travel ways, I feel like a car is going to come and hit me. Even if I am down a walking path on a foot bridge. I've been here once before, Thanksgiving break. Untouched, but smothered, the snow was think and undisturbed, only ruined as I walked across it, carefully leaving footprints so it looked like someone should still be on the island, even after I'd left. It is an experience I have never again enjoyed, even as I try at every snowfall, but it is remembered. [Addressing the packet where James talks about never having the same reaction twice, despite the similarities.] Stairs to nowhere. To nowhere? Well, to a bush, not exactly nowhere. But a bush isn't no where. When you have arguments in your head, do you already know the answer? I seem to surprise myself. That feeling you get when you see something structurally strange and you want to go jump on it to see if it's structurally sound, and yet, you'll only try it if you already know the answer. I was too bored to read the memorial after the first sentence. Feet growing cold, but I still refuse to put on shoes. Where is the fun if you can't poke cold toes at your boyfriend in vengeance for not joining you due to video games. Water only looks like glass until you drop it off a cliff. Afterwards, I have the strange desire to stick my toes in it. I'll head back.
I'm plagued by the desire to write 'cheese', though ridiculous and unrelated. That's ironic. HIPSTER!! My feet to home, my mind lists the things I still have to do. I'll spare you. I'll spare myself. Survival of the Fittest. I snapped out of S of C when I realized I was doing it. Is that possible? Was startled by a person running, on a sidewalk, the nerve. Too caught up in recording. People in the car like my pants. Probably not, they're yelling at everyone. Skepticism. I'm going to have trouble reading this [this is the actually the first sentence i really had trouble reading...] No room. Same runner from earlier. Did I mention him? No, I was on pants. I wonder if everyone yells stuff at him as he runs. That's why America is really obese.
Congrats if you actually read all of that. I think I got all of my thoughts and connected to the packet solely by accident. Welcome to my mind!
I definitely had a very hard time with this reading. I don’t know if it was because I did it late at night, but I had to re-read several sections to have even a basic grasp of what James was talking about.
However, one part I did latch onto was his discussion of sensations being different according to perceptions or moods. “Are not the sensations which we get from the same object, for example, always the same? … What we got twice is the same OBJECT. We hear the same note over and over again; we see the same quality of green, or smell the same objective perfume, or experience the same species of pain”. This reminded me perfectly of our discussion concerning Emerson’s idea of the “train of moods like a string of beads” that “paint the world their own hue” (Experience). We talked about how a song can make you happy one year and then when you listen to it later it makes you sad. Nothing whatsoever has changed about the song, only you have changed.
In relation to this idea, James says that, “[t]his is what makes off-hand testimony about the subjective identity of different sensations well-nigh worthless as a proof of the fact.” I can see where James is coming from but this idea seems to discredit any level of perspectivism. Yes, people are bound to have different perceptions and their sensations will therefore be different, but that only means there is no absolute, objective truth—something with which I thought James sort of agreed.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Out of the entirety of the human population, educated people are ordinary. Out of the high school educated population, philosophers are rather ordinary, since most people debate the meaning of life or work at some point in their life. Out of all 'philosophers' people who spend their lives dedicated to higher thoughts are unordinary.
Pragmatists look at philosophy with the idea that humans could be far more successful with their lives if we weren't caught up on unsolvable conundrums and trying to solve them. Countless wars, deaths and atrocities have been waged over the question of which religion is correct. Some scholars have dedicated their lives to answering one question, like what exactly does 'ordinary' mean, or what is the starting point of life. Pragmatism is abnormal in comparison to most philosophers. Instead of trying to find the best answer to a question that can stand up to logical questioning, they search for the answer that makes it easiest for people to move on with their lives.
As usual, I'm not sure where my point is here.
One of the quotes that I found the most interesting in this reading came from the introduction, saying, "They confirm what the pragmatist has always claimed, which is that what people believe to be true is just what they think it is good to believe to be true" (pg. xii). This line stuck out to me because, while I hadn't thought about it much before, I think it's correct. A lot of people will believe in something only because they believe that it is good to believe in it, not because they actually think it is true. For instance, peer pressure is often the reason why a person will change their mind about something they had previously believed otherwise, such as whether skipping a class is a good idea or not, or whether you should get eight hours of sleep at night, or only five. While these thoughts may change over time, often times they and other thoughts are molded by those around us, not just ourselves, so what they "think is good to believe" is created from others as well as themselves.
I'll quote here what has become a very important passage for me. James' description of the process of thought has been useful for me both in understanding my own thinking (both "ordinary" and "philosophical") and in understanding how my students navigate the texts and ideas I present them with.
The process here is always the same. The individual has a stock of old opinions already, but he meets a new experience that puts them to a strain. Somebody contradicts them; or in a reflective moment he discovers that they contradict each other; or he hears of facts with which they are incompatible; or desires arise in him which they cease to satisfy. The result is an inward trouble to which his mind till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape by modifying his previous mass of opinions. He saves as much of it as he can, for in this matter of belief we are all extreme conservatives. So he tries to change first this opinion, and then that (for they resist change very variously), until at last some new idea comes up which he can graft upon the ancient stock with a minimum of disturbance of the latter, some idea that mediates between the stock and the new experience and runs them into one another most felicitously and expediently.
It is difficult to say anything definitely about pragmatism, because there is no thought that is inherently and statically pragmatic; it is thoroughly dependent on its practice. This volatility, this dependence on individualism, is almost un-philosophical; I mean this in the sense that what is pragmatic for me may not be pragmatic for anyone else. But philosophy aims at universality. Can one speak both pragmatically and universally? I am straying again.
Let's see. Pragmatism relates to the ordinary because its only concern is how I interact with the world, specifically and generally. "What difference does it make, whether Orion is up there in heaven, or some god paints the image in the firmament of the soul? ... it is alike useful and alike venerable to me." --Emerson, "Nature"
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I was struck by pragmatism and the way it is explained because it reminds me a lot of Ponge’s “Bread” vignette. Ponge finishes “Bread” by saying, “But let’s cut short here. For bread should be mouthed less as an object of respect than of consumption.” Ponge warns us not to worship or simply sit around discussing the bread. After all, bread it meant to be eaten not deified. To me, bread represents the ordinary in this vignette, something to be used and appreciated but not in spite of its utility.
Pragmatism sounds a lot like this to me—we should think of things in relation to how they work for us and exist to us. James says, “[t]o attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider what conceivable effects of a practical kind the object may involve—what sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare.” What is the point of bread or something ordinary if we never think of it in terms of us and our lives?
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Have you ever read Botany of Desire? It's a book looking at four different plants that have influenced and been influenced by humans. The first chapter is on apples and how Micheal Pollen, the author, goes across the country looking for the original path apples took across the U.S. and searching for apples that have been chosen for flavor, rather than the sweetness and shippability that supermarket providers look for. Anyways, I think the most interesting thing I learned about apples from the entire section of the book is that apples have five sets of genes. It's impossible to get the exact same apple tree from an offspring with self-pollination, much less from cross pollination (ten sets of genetics).
I'm drawn from this topic back to... I believe it was Emerson or maybe Wordsworth who said that all nature can be used as a metaphor for human nature. I think that 'Wild Apples' is the opposite idea however. Apples are not a symbol for humanity, but rather nature in the form of all that opposes humans. On 295, it talks about how when a cruel person thinks of apples as nothing more than just a crop or money then the apples are heavy and hard too pull, as if they fight their very existence. There are stories of animals starving themselves to death or crashing into walls to kill themselves if they are being farmed and suffer for it. This occurs everywhere between cattle being killed in stressful situations release hormones that make them taste less pleasant, bears farmed for bile have mauled their cubs to keep them from suffering when they grow up, plants of the exact same type all grown together will be increasingly vulnerable to animals and diseases. Nature fights simplification and being used without any regard to the treatment given to the used. Unlike humans, nature will change itself to survive (see above passage about genetics). It never produces the same species twice, as there must be a reason it didn't survive in the first place and was therefore defective. Humans change the world around them, feeling that we are incapable of being less than perfect as we are. True, when we look at the dominant specie of the planet, the argument can be made that we have won the battle, but I don't think that we have or ever will. There will still be seeds dropped on bridges in their own little fertilizer bird poop and hardy new apples to grow in the barrenest of places, miniature nature bombs that eat through our toughest metals and strongest pesticides. 'Wild Apples' is about realizing that we are not in control of the Earth, but rather tied in a way that will soon result in our loss. The best opinion is to set down the spray guns and see that only fools declare war on nature.
Apples are fascinating.
I paid particular attention to Thoreau’s discussion of man’s interference with the apples and his lack of importance to them in many respects. I really like the passage where he talks about the man selecting apples to sell: “He turns a specked one over many times before he leaves it out. If I were to tell what is passing in my mind, I should say that everyone was specked which he had handled; for he rubs off all the bloom, and those fugacious ethereal qualities leave it.” To Thoreau, the “man-handling” of the apple ruins its beauty, not the possible specks or imperfections. The argument about man’s destruction of nature simply by interfering is one I can’t say I agree with. To me, this argument savors strongly of inherent beauty in nature idea and to say that humans ruin it is, in my opinion, an exaggeration. Do humans sometimes trample and destroy? Yes, of course we do but humans also love and appreciate nature and long to be a part of it. Assuming that nature is only beautiful or good in relation to us is silly, but we only have our eyes to see things through and we will inevitable be colored by that truth. On the other hand, saying nature only matters completely removed from us makes no sense.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
And so there is a tension in "Experience" that provokes the combative in me. In certain scattered moments, Emerson announces that the very core of man is and will forever be apart: "There will be the same gulf between every me and thee, as between the original and the picture." "Two human beings are like globes, which can touch only in a point, and, whilst they remain in contact, all other points of each of the spheres are inert..." "How long before our masquerade will end its noise of tambourines, laughter, and shouting, as we shall find it was a solitary performance?" Emerson! I want to shout. I am here with you in this thought! We are reader and writer united for at least this moment, and you would have me believe I am here alone? I cannot even believe it is only at a solitary point that we meet. For the days and weeks after I read a provoking text, I feel that I carry it with me in every point of my "sphericity."
The phenomenon of the literary "I" is enough to convince me of our unity. "All I know is reception; I am and I have: but I do not get, and when I have fancied I had gotten anything, I found I did not." When I follow this closely enough, I am aligned with Emerson's "I"; it is not solely him or me, but whosoever hears this thought that lives in "I." And further, whenever Emerson speaks of loneliness or apartness, he does not use "I"-- he uses "we." I believe Emerson intends for this contradiction-- the contradiction between this "we" and its "aloneness"-- and in it I think he finds some way to reconcile the competing ideas of individuality and shared human spirit (Emerson's "One Man").
“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them, they prove to be many colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus. From the mountain you see the mountain. We animate what we can, and we see only what we animate. Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them. It depends on the mood of the man, whether he shall see the sunset or the fine poem.”
I feel as though in this passage, Emerson is trying to impart to me that the world is illusory completely in the sense of perception and that perception is based on mood. First, he decrees that “there is no end to illusion”. On some level, everything we see is false and untrue but only because of how we look at it with certain moods. Because he says that the our mood affects our perception, our take on one specific thing could be completely different from one day to another. When we pass through this “string of beads” of emotions, a mountain that was once considered beautiful and inspiring could later seem cold, unfeeling or dangerous and insurmountable. This is one place where I definitely felt as though I understood and agreed with Emerson. I think everyone has experiences where their opinion or perception of something changed based on their mood.
"I know that the world I converse with in the city and in the farms, is not the world I think. I observe that difference and shall observe it. One day, I shall know the value and law of this discrepance. But I have not found that much was gained by manipular attempts to realize the world of thought. Many eager persons successively make an experiment in this way, and make themselves ridiculous. They acquire democratic manners, they foam at the mouth, they hate and deny. Worse, I observe, that, in the history of mankind, there is never a solitary example of success, — taking their own tests of success. I say this polemically, or in reply to the inquiry, why not realize your world? But far be from me the despair which prejudges the law by a paltry empiricism, — since there never was a right endeavor, but it succeeded. Patience and patience, we shall win at the last. We must be very suspicious of the deceptions of the element of time. It takes a good deal of time to eat or to sleep, or to earn a hundred dollars, and a very little time to entertain a hope and an insight which becomes the light of our life. We dress our garden, eat our dinners, discuss the household with our wives, and these things make no impression, are forgotten next week; but in the solitude to which every man is always returning, he has a sanity and revelations, which in his passage into new worlds he will carry with him. Never mind the ridicule, never mind the defeat: up again, old heart! — it seems to say, — there is victory yet for all justice; and the true romance which the world exists to realize, will be the transformation of genius into practical power."
For me, personally, Emerson’s best performance with his text is the final paragraph of “Experience.” Throughout the essay he lures his readers in with his thoughts and arguments, and in fact, there were many passages that struck me. The way in which he elaborates his text with counterarguments and examples forces his readers to consider his notions, relate them to their own experiences, and form their own opinions based on what they read. This just goes back to what it means to be a true scholar, and Emerson’s views on using books and others’ thoughts not as a way of life, but as a springboard for one’s own inspiration. In this final paragraph, it seems to me that Emerson, though clearly willing to tell the world his thoughts, admits that he does not actually know the value of life as he thinks he knows it. While Emerson himself is on a quest to understand the “world of thought,” he recognizes that only patience and time will reveal all. Throughout this text, Emerson pulls us along, intriguing us with his seemingly all-knowing insights and answers. Just then, in the very last paragraph of his essay, he reveals himself as ordinary. He seems to relate himself to regular people, those who “dress our garden, eat our dinners, discuss the household with our wives, and these things make no impression, are forgotten next week.” However, he goes on to say, “But in the solitude to which every man is still returning, he has a sanity and revelations, which in his passage into new worlds he will carry with him.” Here, Emerson reminds his readers that philosophers are humans, too. We all must go through the monotony of daily life paying little or no attention to tasks such as those aforementioned. However, we all return to our thoughts and are able to dwell on them no matter how much time has passed since last doing so. It is an intrinsic part of human nature to attempt to answer questions. Emerson, a great philosopher, seems to be admitting here that he must remember to surrender himself to the power of time, for it is only time that will reveal the answers of itself. He says, “I know that the world I converse with in the city and in the farms, is not the world I think…. One day, I shall know the value and law of this discrepance.” For now all he can do is be patient and simply pose beliefs and opinions on what appears to be true based on his experiences right now; he cannot manipulate his way through life to seek answers or truth or to alter or predict experiences, which is a timeless lesson, or a source of inspiration, for all of us.