How Emerson Out-Thinks Us All.
Vanity makes my friend Samuel interesting to talk to. For example, this Saturday night he reminded me that I was reading Emerson.
“Yes, I’m reading his essays from his youth.”
“I love some of his quotes,” Samuel says.
“Emerson is fantastic,” I say, “Whenever I read him I see my own thoughts. He is the original American free thinker. If I try to think for myself I learn I am either doing it in resistance to him or along the lines he laid down.”
“I don’t think so,” Samuel says, frowning and looking down.
“Emerson is bigger than us,” I tell him. “His thinking is larger than ours. You can’t be self-reliant without to some extent relying on Emerson’s guidance, unconsciously or not.”
But it was evident by then that he had not actually read Emerson, beyond the occasional inspirational quotation, so we changed the topic to talking about Mark Twain, another writer he had not read but one he could talk about with more of a veneer of saving face.