Saturday, March 19, 2005

Emerson, No. 2

The other day, I wrote a diary quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson in relation to the blogs.  Today, allow me to continue:

Hundreds of writers may be found in every long-civilized nation, who for a short time believe, and make others believe,  that they see and utter truths, who do not of themselves clothe one thought in its natural garmet, but who feed unconsciously on the language created by the primary writers of the country, those, namely, who hold primarily on nature.


A lot of what passes for political thought, especially on the right, comes from this remove, from an unwillingness to grapple with things in themselves, but who see the world only through a patina of words.
Emerson goes on:

But wise men pierce this rotten diction and fasten words again to visible things...


Emerson is writing about the use of imagery in discussion, but the analogy can also be extended to contemporary political discussions.


Too many commentators talk about words, not about actual experience from direct knowledge of the world.  This allows them to retreat (sometimes accidentally, I must admit) into lies and distortions.  Discussions moves to who said what, and not about the issue at hand at all.


To me, what I see going on here at dKos and at the other left-leaning blogs is an attempt to take the words back, to use them once again to talk about things of the experiential world, of nature, instead of letting them be little more than comment in words on other words.  We are figting comments that don't illuminate, only obscure--and we will win.

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