I was perusing Spiritual Laws today and appreciating a number of commentaries that are presently relevant. Gethyn submitted, “you need to finish that article for Jerry Coyne;” to which I countered, “I don’t feel like it today.”
Ironically, directly, our dialogue diverged from the topical and matured into the embodiment of Emerson’s treatise on so-called passive and active people.
“…Be, and not seem!”
In substituting being for seeming, we aver, “we are!” In substituting being for seeming, we abandon passivity and appropriate a proactive posture. In substituting being for seeming, we own both our days and our actions.
“We call the poet inactive, because he is not a president, a merchant, or a porter. We adore an institution, and do not see that it is founded on a thought which we have. But real action is in silent moments. The epochs of our life are not in the visible facts of our choice of a calling, our marriage, our acquisition of an office, and the like, but in a silent thought by the way-side as we walk;…”
“I see action to be good, when the need is, and sitting still to be also good.”
In fluctuating contexts, sitting, which on the surface, has the appearance a passive venture, earns its place among zealous deeds. Sitting with one’s thoughts is virtuous, as it breathes life into one’s actions. Emerson identifies thought as the progenitor of every action.
And THOUGHT MUST PRECEDE ACTION.
“Why need I go gadding into the scenes and philosophy of Greek and Italian history before I have justified myself to my benefactors? How dare I read Washington’s campaigns when I have not answered the letters of my own correspondents?“
In a characterisation that amused me, Emerson portrayed such passivity as “peeping.” It struck me, that in lieu of “answering the letters of my own correspondents” — completing my article about poorly drawn cats — I was reading Emerson, in a defiant act of contempt for my own actions and deeds. Emerson himself, continues: the “peeper’s” time is just as noteworthy as he whom he admires; and thus, in concluding my work, other idlers may deem me best, as I do Emerson or Cicero.
To wit: Miss Ironfist, it’s time to heed Geth and Emerson and write that cat article!