Often the beginning of a friendship is paired with a nervous “throbbing of the heart” and excitement, but as friendship progresses, nervousness at upkeeping looks and intelligence falls away, and “vulgarity, ignorance, and misapprehension” come in.
Here, Emerson characterizes the nebulous and changing nature of friendship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a celebrated American philosopher and poet who studied theology and was ordained, but later abandoned his career as a pastor due to his unorthodox views.
This is a collection of his poems about friendship.'Pretty deep stuff.
"The word miracle, as pronounced by Christian churches, gives a false impression; it is a monster.
It is not one with the blowing clover and the falling rain" (Address to Harvard Divinity College, July 15, 1838). the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons" (Conduct of Life, 1860).
In his essay “Friendship,” Ralph Waldo Emerson portrays friendship as a natural, albeit paradoxical, human need.
For Emerson, humans may possess “selfishness that chills like east winds.” Despite this, humans are surrounded by “an element of love like a fine ether,” which points to an innate love and need for companionship.
"The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant." (Civilization, 1862). Ralph Waldo Emerson was his son and Waldo Emerson Forbes, his grandson.
He influenced generations of Americans, from his friend Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, and in Europe, Friedrich Nietzsche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power, fate, the uses of poetry and history, and the critique of Christianity.