April 25, 2006

A God In Ruins

I picked up 'A God In Ruins' the other day solely cause the title intrigued me. Turns out it is derived from a famous quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson which goes like this.

A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams. Now, the world would be insane and rabid, if these disorganizations should last for hundreds of years. It is kept in check by death and infancy. Infancy is the perpetual Messiah, which comes into the arms of fallen men, and pleads with them to return to paradise. (link)
It is said of him that

Emerson was noted as being a very abstract and difficult writer who nevertheless drew large crowds for his speeches. The heart of Emerson's writing was his direct observations in his journals, which he started keeping as a teenager at Harvard. The journals were elaborately indexed by Emerson. Emerson went back to his journals, his bank of experiences and ideas, and took out relevant passages, which were joined together in his dense, concentrated lectures. He later revised and polished his lectures for his essays.
More of his works here.