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Thursday, July 07, 2011

DF#6

If you are noticing that my DF #’s are not consecutive that would be because we had 2 weeks where we were working on readings since they were longer short stories. For instance reading Thoreau’s WALDEN .  I really enjoyed this section. Even though I didn’t get to read the whole thing as I would have liked. We were only assigned 3 chapters and then some Emerson pieces. But, I have downloaded them to the computer so that I can read them later. I also checked them out of the Library where I will have to return and then recheck out later.
It was hard reading Thoreau but I learned so much and it made me want to go visit the mountains or the woods for a week just to get away and enjoy undisturbed Nature!  But, we did take a trip down the Rainbow Springs river on inner tubes with friends the same week and so that really helped me out on the tranquil feel of what Nature can give, even though we were laughing and having fun throughout the whole thing.
Here are a few of the neat things we saw--- Armadillos!  They remind me of Piglet on the old Winnie the Pooh movie.
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The swimming hole at the end of the Springs. I guess the spring outlet is somewhere in the upper left corner. It’s a nice balmy 72 all year long.
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Trebor trying to catch a lizard and also a shot of the whole group
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Mckenna and Devon snorkeling
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My dear friend Cindy- who by the way is chastising me for not getting in the water. There was a nice Alligator warning sign off the area  boggy area (that green area behind Cindy- see the little bouy rope off?)which I convinced myself was not what I wanted to encounter while swimming. The inner tube float was enough for me thank you!
sorry, I didn’t get any pictures of the float itself- because I only had my phone, (which I got out of the car between the float and the swimming hole…) I need to invest in a cheap point and shoot for stuff like this since I don’t’ want to ruin my Nikon with water anywhere near!
*Note to self- do this BEFORE you go to Palm Beach…

Now back  to the Discussion. Interestingly enough, I didn’t get a comment from my Professor on this entry which made me curious to see what she thought about a few things. so, I wrote her an email
Subject: Curiosity
Dr. R- I'm curious... Which Parties DO YOU think that Emerson and Thoreau would be a part of if they were alive today? Thanks, Sandi
here is her response:
I do not think they would be Republicans as our current Reps are leaning way too far to the right for our gentlemen scholars Emerson and Thoreau. I'm quite sure Mr. Thoreau would refuse to label himself as "any party" in particular though he would vote for the Green candidates, those who loved and protected Nature. If he had to choose between the two major parties, I think he would lean towards the Democrats although he would have arguments with them too! : ) Mr. Emerson would be a Democrat or a Civil Libertarian. He would tout Green causes. He was not much for personally taking care of the poor, a real character issue on his part in my mind, unfortunately. Other than that, he leans a tad left, I think. Your thoughts? Don't let politics or people's opinions on politics or religion shake you, girl. Stay in the coolly objective air of scholars. : ) Dr. R.
my response back so she didn’t think that I was wanting to use her opinion…
Date:
6/25/2011 12:04:46 AM
From:
Brower, Sandra
RE: Curiosity
As per my DF #6 thoughts: In the Lecture Self- Reliance, Emerson stated that “Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms.” He also said that “A man is fed, not that he may be fed, but that he may work,” we all know that working for our freedoms is part of being self-reliant and so with both these statements, I would believe that Emerson might not have been part of either main Political Party namely Democrat or Republican, but might have been more of a Libertarian. "A Libertarian’s top priority is to increase individual liberty and responsibility, Shrink government, reduce taxes and Liberate education, commerce and personal choice." (Libertarian Party) “That government is best which governs least.” Thoreau probably would’ve been more supportive of the Green Party ticket since his stance on passive non-conformity fits a little better with this political party. "The Green Party stand for peace, social and economic justice, nonviolence, grassroots democracy, respect for diversity, women’s rights and protection of the environment." (GPCA Platform 10 Key Values) Thoreau was jailed for not paying his poll taxes; his book Civil Disobedience influenced not only Martin Luther King Jr. but also Gandhi. (McElroy)
I never let other people's opinions sway mine. I will listen, pull out what I agree with and try to learn and digest the rest and sift it out if it still doesn't sit well with my values. I have learned since moving from Utah 2.5 year ago to be more tolerant of other's views. Since we lived in a bubble while living there. Moving here has been a great thing for my two younger kids who also have learned that it takes all kinds of people to make a great environment, not just those who believe the way you do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and inspiring me to always reach higher. I was just curious because I didn't get a comment from you in our discussion forum and wanted to know what you thought about the political part... :)
Have a great weekend, Sandi
p.s. I am going to Hemingway's Key West home for the 2nd time in a year in a few weeks. This time the kids get to take the tour and then they are going to read THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. Both kids are in HS and will be taking Honor class. My son, Kyler is a SR. and he has to read Frankenstein and two other classics this summer, but I thought Hemingway would be great also. Is there a better Hemingway you think he might like? I don't think he would like A SUN ALSO RISES. ~S~
And as any good Literature Lover would do, she gave me that recommendation:
Sandi, I recommend the novella The Old Man and the Sea. He will like that. If it must be full novel size, I recommend For Whom the Bell Tolls. I love your answer. Well done. Talk to you more soon. I'm off with my son and his wife today.


Online Discussion: What qualities in Thoreau and Emerson identify these writers and thinkers as Transcendentalists? If Emerson and Thoreau were alive today, which political party would each probably belong to? Explain your answers thoroughly. Describe the ideal American according to Emerson. Describe the ideal American according to Thoreau. Discuss how Nature is emblematic to understanding God in both writer’s works. How are these men uniquely American spirits? Does America still believe and support such philosophy as expressed in these major works of the 19th Century
6/19/2011 | 3:12 AM Transcending Thought
Rating: --Author: Brower, Sandra
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I believe that Thoreau and Emerson’s main quality that showed them as Transcendentalists was to think deeper and focus on the root of all that’s entailed in this world and in our souls. Their thinking transcended to the Heavens and didn’t bother with the minutia of worldly cares when it came to belongings, working to have those belongings and conforming to other’s way of thinking.  Emerson believed that we were not to just exist but that we were meant to provide for ourselves. We are not to be lazy, we are meant to be self-sufficient in our living and that is by learning to do things. "Skill to do comes of doing.”
Both men truly loved to be out in the world of what God gave to us, or as Emerson stated, “…give us a delight in and for themselves,” when he was describing the beauty of the natural world. Thoreau so beautifully described in WALDEN from the chapter entitled, “Solitude” of the natural world in which he was surrounded while living at Walden Pond, “This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore… as I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt-sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy…all the elements are unusually congenial to me.”  Both men believed that no man should reign over another man and this was proven by their view towards Slavery. Emerson wrote many a lecture on this topic and it was not always viewed favorably. Thoreau’s question in Walden resonated with me when it comes to how we deal with our fellow man, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?” (Thoreau) Does it resonate with you?
In the Lecture Self- Reliance, Emerson stated that “Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms.” He also said that “A man is fed, not that he may be fed, but that he may work,” we all know that working for our freedoms is part of being self-reliant and so with both these statements, I would believe that Emerson might not have been part of either main Political Party namely Democrat or Republican, but might have been more of a Libertarian.  A Libertarian’s top priority is to increase individual liberty and responsibility, Shrink government, reduce taxes and Liberate education, commerce and personal choice. (Libertarian Party)
“That government is best which governs least.” Thoreau probably would’ve been more supportive of the Green Party ticket since his stance on passive non-conformity fits a little better with this political party. The Green Party stand for peace, social and economic justice, nonviolence, grassroots democracy, respect for diversity, women’s rights and protection of the environment. (GPCA Platform 10 Key Values) Thoreau was jailed for not paying his poll taxes; his book Civil Disobedience influenced not only Martin Luther King Jr. but also Gandhi. (McElroy)
According to Emerson, the Ideal American would have been someone who was self-reliant, an individual thinker “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think,” someone who believes that all men are created equal, “The likeness in them is more than the difference.” He also would want that American to be principled, “Nothing can bring peace but yourself. Nothing can bring peace but the triumph of principle.” I believe that he would also think the ideal American would be someone that respected differences in belief systems, because he greatly appreciated all religions which are shown throughout his writings; he talks about the Bible, and Mythology, and points out that the entire world is filled with a Spirit.
Thoreau’s Ideal American is a little more Anarchist than Emerson’s. Thoreau would have an American be an individual who is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and do whatever it takes to take that stand. He would have them be a person who worked to provide for what is needed but not to have belongings, “…Men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed in the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal.” which would clutter the freedom of speech and thought, “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”
Thoreau would also have the Ideal American, like Emerson, be a principled person, “If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius, which are certainly true, he sees not to what extremes, or even insanity, it may lead him; and yet that way, as he grows more resolute and faithful, his road lies.” This principled American would be full of virtue and purity, “There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” He would want someone who is self-reliant and a free thinker, “I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way and not his father’s or his mother’s…”  
Nature is emblematic to understand God because as taught by Dr. Robison in my ENC1102, “The whole is greater than its parts,” I believe that the nature of words in the world is not as great as the nature of the spirit or of nature as a Whole. We are to understand that metaphorically the Word when mentioned in the BIBLE is God and the World is his school ground. So, when we go into Nature we smell, hear, see, taste and experience entirely what God has created, “Every object rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of the soul.” 1]We are taught that our spirit is the same as that of what the spirit of the world is, “The world proceeds from the same Spirit as the body of man.” As Emerson told us in Chapter VII of NATURE labeled “SPIRIT,” “The Happiest man is the one who learns from nature the lesson of worship.” We feel reverence when we step into nature the beauty of what is created is manifested a hundred times more to us in the quiet, solitude of all that we are encapsulated by. Thoreau said it best “What do we want most to dwell near to?...the perennial source of our life,” which is God.
Both Emerson and Thoreau are uniquely American because unlike living in other parts of the world, they could write what they learned in their years of study and contemplation on life. They were not beholden to any laws that prevented them from disappearing from the community, they were not told what they could and couldn’t say or do and most of all, they were free to worship as they pleased without fear of imprisonment or worse death. Unlike other nations who condemned freedom of worship, thought or speech and stifled ones creativity with ridged rules, these men were able to be free to create. They truly were independent thinkers who thought on a higher realm and transcended the thinking of what the Americans considered living.
I am certain that there are many Americans who still believe the philosophy of Emerson and Thoreau. I just think that we on a whole today are more conformist than both of them were, we follow the crowd, we are afraid to think for ourselves when it comes to what would be considered different. We should be quick to remember what Thoreau said, “We belong to the community. It is not the tailor alone who is the ninth part of a man, it is as much the preacher, and the merchant, and the farmer. Where is this division of labor to end? And what object does it finally serve? No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so to the exclusion of my thinking for myself.” I know right now that American’s are unhappy with their government, they feel hopeless, they feel as if they are being let down, but are afraid to do anything about it. We didn’t think as we made our choices (whether Democrat or Republican,) for who we wanted to run our country by what our true beliefs are. Maybe, there were people who were fooled by the mantra of the present administration, but I think that on a whole the nation followed the “feel good, let’s make history” band wagon blindly and never really thought about what was being promised and how it could be achieved.  I do believe that people are becoming more tolerant of each other’s differences and might just be about the business of trying to take care of themselves and not tell others how to live and so in that respect we still agree with the philosophy that we “look through each other’s eyes for an instant” to better understand each other than we have in the past. But, when it comes to the religious beliefs we have gotten far away from what Emerson and Thoreau believed. They believed in a higher power, whatever we tend to call that power, and the freedom to believe in whatever we choose; where now there is no tolerance, people want to change what the Founding Fathers designed and seem to get ugly when someone believes differently from what the other person does which tends to cause contention among the masses.

1]Samuel Jackson Coleridge as Quoted in NATURE by Emerson
Works Cited
GPCA Platform 10 Key Values. 14 10 2006. 17 06 2011 <http://www.cagreens.org/platform/10k.shtml>.
Libertarian Party. n.d. 17 06 2011 <http://www.lp.org/introduction/what-is-the-libertarian-party>.
McElroy, Wendy. Henry David Thoreau and “Civil Disobedience,” Part 1. 25 07 2005. 17 06 2011 <http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0503e.asp>.
McMichael, George, et al. Anthology of American Literature. 9th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc., 2007.
Schulman, Frank. Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. 1999-2011. 18 06 2011 <http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/ralphwaldoemerson.html>.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden or Life in the Woods and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Cutchogue,: Buccaneer Books, Inc., 1986.