Emerson was exceedingly long winded – standard fare for writing in his day. He used a lot of words to build a foundation for his ideas. His paragraphs are longer than the chapters in most novels today.
He explained his concepts in great detail. He built a foundation and then expanded an idea until he arrived at the nugget of wisdom we quote today.
But the foundation was important to him.
We live in a time when the depth of our thought is indicated by a #hashtag. There are no concepts.
Ideas and ideals are distilled to a tweet.
We accept the fact that the average person’s attention span and depth of thought is no more than 140 characters.
When there are few enough words, everyone quotes them. News agencies now pick up tweets and present them as well thought out commentary.
He used half a million characters telling us to work out ideas for ourselves, to contemplate the nature of everything. He encouraged self-reliance and using nature as a model for our lives.
Today we live in a world built for us by Television and Sports and Religion. We go along with all the distilled ideas preached to us by our favorite announcer or cleric.
We sit in front of the TV, watch inane programing, listen to the commentary and then parrot it back during coffee breaks. Someone else has built our world for us. We spend all day discussing celebrities’ lives instead of living our own.
And we tweet about it.
The ideas come faster and there is nothing well-formed about any of them. It’s just commentary passing itself off as concept; opinion masquerading as knowledge.
In “Nature” Emerson protested that we master our world by penny-wisdom.
I’m pretty sure he was talking about tweets.