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Thread: Emerson to James and Whitehead

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    Jan 2015

    Emerson to James and Whitehead

    If Transcendentalism and spiritual insight is a road less travelled, there is a reason for that. It was the road most travelled for most of humanity at all times before nature was made subservient to anthropomorphed gods with interpreters. People were encouraged to think and ask questions in places that true love flourished, I say.

    "Tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time
    . —Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self Reliance"

    The most common response I have received to The Road Less Traveled in letters from readers has been one of gratitude for my courage, not for saying anything new, but for writing about the kind of things they had been thinking and feeling all along, but were afraid to talk about.

    I am not clear about the matter of courage. A certain kind of congenital obliviousness might be a more proper term. A patient of mine during the book's early days happened to be at a cocktail party where she overheard a conversation between my mother and another elderly woman. Referring to the book, the other woman said, "You certainly must be very proud of your son, Scotty." To which my mother replied, in the sometimes tart way of the elderly, "Proud? No, not particularly. It didn't have anything to do with me. It's his mind, you see. It's a gift."

    I think my mother was wrong saying that she had nothing to do with it, but I think she was accurate my authorship of The Road was the result of a gift—on many levels. One part of that gift goes way back. Lily, my wife, and I had made friends with a younger man, Tom, who had grown up in the same summer colony as I. During those summers I had played with his older brothers, and his mother had known me as a child. One night a few years before The Road was published. Tom was coming to have dinner with us. He was staying with his mother at the time, and the evening before he had said to her, "Mom, I'm going to have dinner tomorrow night with Scott Peck. Do you remember him?"

    "Oh yes," she responded,
    "he was that little boy who was always talking about the kinds of things that people shouldn't talk about."

    It is not enough to know the history of Transcendentalism in shamanism cum hermetics alone. It is not enough to study nature alone or even as Thoreau would want and you might enjoy. If we want to apply what is true in nature we have to do some heavy lifting.

    I found it in the writing of R. M. Bucke before I found it in Yoga, but it always was "within" even if I succumbed to denial wrought by logic and social denials of a collective consciousness called cosmic or sensed in the prose of Whitman.

    For Emerson Karma has a Compensatory flavor in his essay titled Compensation.

    "Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed, for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed."

    For me it has an element of much less punishment and much more Purpose. Hinduism is so much more punitive than the intense one-ness of real beauty, perhaps because of the dogma which has corroded the feelings So I found more in Raja Yoga and other more intellectual at - one -ment, but the really intense things are not very intellectual when they happen. Maybe it is more a case of getting ready to take the intellect out of the way - sometimes. You might develop an entirely different Mantra and method which works for you, and you can trust.

    As you read about great adepts who de-materialize or ascend are you learning about ghosts or a way energy acts through the influence of soul and mind? I think so - but it takes a long time to discuss these things with those who debunk ghosts (which I have done satisfactorily).

    Vedanta's God is within all or as Jung said about William James's "nichts als" - 'nothing but' - the universal mind and union, James impressed Carl Jung. That is a loose interpretation that takes us to Yoga and an ecumenical society Vivekananda, Krishnamurti, Joseph Campbell, Mircae Eliade and Carl Jung had in their extended family. James is the father of the Pragmatic philosophical school of thought which seeks for what works rather than trying to prove things through direct inference and forcing ideas upon events which get in the way of real observation.

    I see the influence of the likes of Yogananda, William James and other members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which is connected to the Illuminati of Goethe to Carlyle and Emerson. Clearly Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell were charmed by the thought of James who preceded them at Harvard. Some people see it as a close relationship with God, I see it as a close relationship with 'all that is' within the universe. That includes every individual who is part of a design that harmonizes and creates. They crossed paths with Chardin, and the Charmed Circle of Gertrude Stein, which brought intellectual emancipation and insight galore to Paris where art and ideas ran amuk existentially and beyond. When Gertrude first met Whitehead a bell rang in her head telling her he was a genius, the only other time this happened was when she met Picasso.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-09-2016 at 07:09 PM.

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