Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reading Emerson was like drinking water to me... Ernest Holmes

Introduction to the new e-book from NewtList:

“Reading Emerson was like drinking water to me,” Ernest Holmes once said. “I have studied him all my life.”

Such endorsement from the originator of the Science of Mind philosophy carries great weight. Not that the work of Emerson has ever required such kudos! Since Emerson began disseminating his ideas through essays and lectures, he has influenced writers, poets and great thinkers around the world.

A Radical Spiritual Thinker

In the nineteenth century when he wrote, Emerson was considered quite radical in his spiritual ideas, believing as he did that all things are divine because everything is connected to God. This caused his detractors to feel that Emerson was removing God from theology as its central figure. Yet nothing, as it turned out, could have been further from the truth.

Emerson believed that every human being is an individualization of God, the sole originating force. He believed that each person is operated on by self-executing spiritual laws. It was his belief that God does not necessarily reveal truth, but that truth could be understood by observing nature and the world around us. Though these were radical ideas for nineteenth century minds, it was just this type of independent thinking that attracted a young Ernest Holmes.

At Age Twenty It  Began

When he was merely twenty years old, Holmes inadvertently pick up his brother Fenwicke’s copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays. Later, his brother was quoted as saying, “It was at that moment that life really began for Ernest Holmes.

“Reading Emerson for the first time,” Holmes said, “the first half-dozen lectures or essays gave me a realization that in a certain sense every person has to interpret the universe in terms of their own thinking and personal relationships, and that in order to do it, we have to have faith and confidence in our own interpretation.” It is two of these essays, “History” and “Spiritual Laws,” that seem to have particularly influenced Ernest Holmes.

At some point in his career, Holmes wrote “responses” to Emerson’s essays on History and Spiritual Laws. It is unclear when he wrote this, but it appears to have been in the 1920s, after penning his landmark book The Science of Mind. His notes were transcribed (where legible) and numbered to correspond with the paragraphs of each Emerson essay, though whether due to faulty transcription of the original handwritten text or due to mistakes in the manuscript itself, these numbers did not always accurately correspond to the actual Emerson essay. Additionally, the original version of Holmes’ notes did not contain the original sections of the essay to which Holmes referred, hindering readers from easily correlating Emerson’s text to Holmes’ responses.

Side By Side Texts

This first edition of The Philosophy of Emerson incorporates the Emerson passages, followed directly by the corresponding comments of Ernest Holmes, offering itself as a conversation between these two great thinkers, and more strongly illuminating both the influence of Emerson on Holmes, and manner in which Holmes took Emerson’s ideas to an original place of personal power.

As Holmes once said, “You are an individualization of God. There is a depth and meaning to your own being. If you can discover it, it will answer your own questions.” 

1 comment:

  1. Another great New Thought author is Florence Scovel Shinn. Here The Secret Door to Succcess is easy to delightful and entertaining.