Emerson: The Philosophy of Obedience


Shoji Goto, PhDProfessor Emeritus, American Literature, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan

Series: World Philosophy
BISAC: PHI045000
DOI: 10.52305/WVBK3901

This book, Emerson, the Philosophy of Obedience, attempts to trace Emerson who sought to integrate Western and Eastern thoughts to found a new philosophy in the new world. An ardent admirer of Plato, he is at the same time an enthusiast of Eastern philosophy. “Memory,” for example, is one of his last lecture series, “Natural Method of Mental Philosophy,” in which men are all taken as the halves, because men have aftersight, but not aforesight. Memory is, to Emerson, not only to call forth the past knowledge to the present, but also there is something related to the future, because some past things memorized in the mind are changed into “a possession of its law.” This is called “a mutation in quality,” by which past things in the mind come into “a possession of its law,” obeying the law, just as, in Phaedo, “all the apparent equals strive to attain absolute equality.” The Platonic method of Analogy works doubtlessly in Emerson. Men obey this law, because “Nature and [Man] are from one source, and that he, when humble and obedient, is nearer to the source.” The mind is such a movement, as he finds that “The mind yields sympathetically to the tendencies or laws which stream through things.” The idea of “humble and obedient,” or humility and obedience, comes originally from the Chaldæan Oracles and the Heetopades, which have a decisive influence on Emerson, through “the light-armed arrive at the summit,” and “the flower of the mind.” Because of this profound Eastern thought and ideas, he is called “this student of Eastern philosophy.”

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Table of Contents




Section I: Philosophy and Mythology

Chapter I. Nature, Religion, and Newness

Chapter II. Light-Armed and Obedient

Chapter III. Necessity and Unity

Chapter IV. The New World Mythology

Section II: Memory and Self-Surrender

Chapter V. Where the Cause Acted

Chapter VI. The Law of Polarity

Chapter VII. The Eastern Idea of Time

Chapter VIII. For the Self-Surrender and Obedience

Epilogue: The Vision of the New World

About the Author


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