Lucretius (lucretius) wrote,

The Wide World 1

I'm teaching a graduate course in transcendentalism.  As a part of it, I'm requiring students give 19thC introspective journaling a go:  requiring that they put up or write down a commonplace book and record their sights and insights.  So.

I figure I'll do it, too.   When I'm regularly writing a commonplace book, I wind up bringing more ideas and phrases usefully into my self. I also think more, knock more against my limits and sometimes make progress or regress. I start plotting my motions on a  map, and sometimes can trace a figure in the pushpins.  I can sneak up on myself and get a glimpse.

At the same time, I'm reading H. D. Thoreau's journals--which are endlessly readable to me.

From a comment elsewhere: 
I think sometimes that most of my experience, and human history is a series of wonderful but faintly desperate-feeling distractions from a few unthinkable truths.

But I only get around to thinking this once in a while. Oooh! What's that over there? Shiny!

From Thoreau's journals April 15th 1838--

Thomas Fuller relates that "In Merionethshire, in Wales, there are high mountains, whose hanging tops come so close together that shepherds on the tops of several hills may audibly talk together, yet it will be a day's journey for their bodies to meet, so vast is the hollowness of the bodies betwixt them." As much may be said in a moral sense of our intercourse in the plains, for though we may audibly converse together, yet is there so vast a gulf of hollowness between, that we are actually many days' journey from a veritable communication.  
The Transc. start with an idea that is as basic as it is revolutionary:   why not lead the life your imagination shows you is best?   
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