Plain Living, High Thinking: Transcendental Ways of Seeing

“The eye reads omens where it goes.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

“Now, perspective centers everything on the eye of the beholder. It’s like a beam from a lighthouse, only instead of traveling outward, appearances travel in. Our tradition of art called those appearances reality.”

—John Berger, Ways of Seeing


Although a single definition cannot grasp the heart of Transcendentalism, it’s rather evident that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Sermon CLXII (“The Lord’s Supper”) with a certain ethos in mind: “I appeal, brethren, to your individual experience” (75). Surely, there’s a lot to be said for the notion of individual experience in discussions about Transcendentalism. Continue reading “Plain Living, High Thinking: Transcendental Ways of Seeing”