“We grant that human life is mean, but how did we find out that it was mean? What is the ground of this uneasiness of ours; of this old discontent… [this] universal sense of want and ignorance, but the fine innuendo by which the soul makes its enormous claim?
“The philosophy of six thousand years has not searched the chambers and magazines of the soul.
“In its experiments there has always remained,in the last analysis, a residuum it could not resolve. Man is a stream whose source is hidden.
“Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact calculator has no prescience that something incalculable may not balk the very next moment. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine. As with events, so is it with thoughts…
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole. The wise silence; the universal beauty [and] deep power… which… is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour — but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.
“…I dare not speak for it. My words do not carry its august sense; they fall short and cold.
“Only itself can inspire whom it will. And behold! Their speech shall be lyrical, and sweet, and universal as the rising of the wind.”
For more: Chapter 9, 'The Over Soul'. In Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays, First Series.
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