Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Emerson, Dostoevsky, and Socialism

I had the stomach flu over the weekend, and I can't seem to get my stomach to want food yet. Actually, just the smell of food makes me gag. Oh sad day.

Bluegrass music tonight at the park.. should be good. Ultimate frisbee later (maybe). Promising night.

My flowers are growing. The herbs are doing wonderfully, I'm so excited. I decided to get a hammock. Maybe yard saling? Where are hammocks cheap?

I picked up a book of Emerson. I remembered in a high school Lit class reading him and Thoreau and being completely fascinated by transcendentalism and post-modernism. The theories, that is. Emerson seems to have quite a bit of faith in the goodness of humanity, which one must have if you are to pursue transcendentalism. What really amazes me is how thoroughly his "religion" or theory of life has shaped our culture today. It's really astounding. He didn't mean for it to become what it has, of course, but he believed in man's goodness. He was wrong.

I also started the Brothers Karamazov again. Evidently, Dostoevsky believed that Socialism is the ultimate form of Atheism. Interesting. He uses the reasoning that Socialism depends on the goodness of men, and Christianity depends on the depravity of men (that sounds awful, but there you have it). He draws a comparison to the Tower of Babel which the people of the Earth attempted to use to bring themselves up to heaven. Using Socialism, he says, man is attempting to bring heaven to Earth.

So, knowing that Socialism obviously would not work so well here, are we stuck with Capitalism? Oh what misery. And, isn't it ironic, that in trying to erase materialism from the culture Emerson only succeeded in increasing it? (Ok, it's not all his fault. Thoreau helped. I spent a few years angry at these two for it. I'm beginning to understand that they weren't out to create Paris Hiltons and mega-malls now, that was an accident.)

And was it because he depended on man's ultimate goodness? I think so. His theory of Transcendentalism decreed that every man look to what he saw to be his needs in life. Ex. Love, safety, food, shelter, etc. Man then is to declare that all humans deserve these essentials the same as he. All good so far. Problem is in selfishness. It sounds amazing in theory. But how many people do you know who would go so far as to strive for these things in others' lives as much as their own?

The theory is self-focused. Bad news right off. Isn't it sad though?

Emerson probably thought he knew how to solve the world's problems. I don't think DOstoevsky ever thought such, but he completely forsook God in his process of finding a solution to the problems because he saw Socialism as the answer, and it just does not fit with the Bible. Emerson didn't forsake God, but I think he diminished Him.

So I'm a democratic socialist haha.. just kidding. I really don't know what I am. I find that idealism and realism don't mix so easily, but I believe in striving for the ideal.

Oh, but how to do it?

1 comment:

crickl's nest said...

I think the reason those ideals fail is because it depends on everyone being under 'control' of a leader and that leader deciding what is best. It essentially takes away free will. And God gave us free will because we need to make our own decisions....even if it means some of us turn out to be Paris Hiltons or serial killers.

Freedom without a love of God and others (the 10 commandments in a nutshell) turns evil and destructive...ruins a society. Freedom that chooses to love God and others would be Heaven on earth, don't you think? But we can't control others' choices, just our own.

Please eat something.