You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.
Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?
In the 1830's, the transcendentalist movement started gaining ground, and Emerson called for Americans to do their own thing and quit relying on history and the English to determine thought and culture. The American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 had a profound impact on the two, and their thinking helped to unify the States in Reconstruction.
Whitman, in particular, was involved in the Civil War as a nurse (essentially performing duties of a doctor), and he wrote poetry about his experiences. Both men had a great love for Abraham Lincoln.
Emerson gave Whitman his start in writing, proclaiming that his work was exactly what he referred to as "American Scholar[ship]." The two passages above are among my favorite in all of literature.
Their words lie at the core of the American entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. The quotes have many interpretations, but I will apply principles specifically dealing with innovation. To innovate you must:
- Look at things, people, and experiences first hand, as a free-thinking individual.
- Live in the present moment rather than in history or the past.
- Examine problems and issues with your own eyes.
- Analyze problems and issues objectively and from all sides before making an independent decision.
- Enjoy an original, personal, and unique relationship with your community, the world, and the universe.
- Evaluate the old way of doing things critically in a process of renovation and innovation.
| || |
Like ZipMinis? Please let us know.