By Midafternoon, I Feel as if I am One with Nature
Yes, I have been busy reading Thoreau, and like Thoreau, sweat does little to enrich my moral or ethical compass. In fact, sweating has been making me feel rather tired and angry, especially when I log into my Reliant Energy account and glance warily, with eyes squeezed into tight little slits and face turned awkwardly away, at the escalating costs of electricity at my new residence. This does nothing to make me feel transcendental, or individual, in my worship of any deity; but it does make me feel like I should take some kind of legal action against my old landlord whose abuse and greed is unmatched anywhere.
Renting does have its positive attributes. For example, Thoreau was able to rent from Emerson just by doing a few chores and tutoring a small child. The rest of his days were given to long transcendental type walks where he collected natural trinkets, made beautiful notes, and then spent long hours penning (or in his case penciling) the pleasures of nature.
Reading Thoreau this Week has been a Rather Cruel and Unusual Assignment
I've been following Thoreau's essays through the cool New England coastal areas, and up to Ktaadn Mountain, while he reveals, in stunning detail, the chilly temps, his pleasant frame of mind, and the lovable furry and feathered creatures he meets along the way. He also describes beer in a manner which any craft brewer would be proud, and his descriptions of the camp food, the fishing, and the downstream surfing across the tops of well-rounded rocks in frigid water sounds like a vacation in paradise---a vacation I will never be able to afford as long as I am churning out money to Reliant Energy for an outdated piece of air conditioning equipment.
What does Transcendental Mean to an Eckert?
First of all, not all Eckerts are made the same. For example, I wouldn't include my sister or my nephew in the transcendental category. But I do rely on my intuition, and I am a believer in the teachings of Immanuel Kant, of which I wrote extensively in my last course. Thoreau, Emerson, and other transcendental types that met together and published in The Dial, believed in living as one with nature, and that humans were divine within. This means that everything can be learned via the senses, but one can transcend beyond those limitations, and I honestly believe this happens while we engage with nature.
When I am sweating in my living room at four o'clock in the afternoon, it is almost impossible for me to work, much less transcendentalize.
Goodman, Russell, "Transcendentalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/transcendentalism/>.
Kant, Immanuel. "The Good Will and the Moral Law." John Martin Creed, and J.S. Boys Smith. Religious Thought in the Eighteenth Century: Illustrated from Writers of the Period. Cambridge. pp. 187-190
Thoreau, Henry David. "Ktaadn." Lewis Hyde. The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau. New York: North Point. 2002. pp. 63-121