Home-Leaver’s Mind

This singular teaching has been one of the most shining lodestars of my life. To some people in my near-orbit, it seems a thoroughly offensive or irritating orientation, even somewhat cruel. But however much I feel compelled to soften its natural expression in my action and speech, this command-from-inside is an irrevocable compass to me. It was always so, nearly from the beginning.

And why should such a Teaching seem so weird to people? Isn’t it one of the central declarations of the man to whom countless places of worship have been erected, the man who said:


N.B.: Emerson’s usage of the word “genius” is not our narrowed conventional sense of a type of exalted intelligence, but the emergent modern meaning cleaving closely to its classical root, as expressed in this Wikipedia entry:

In ancient Rome, the genius (plural in Latin genii) was the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of a person, family (gens), or place (genius loci).[18]The noun is related to the Latin verbs "gignere" (to beget, to give birth to) and "generare" (to beget, to generate, to procreate), and derives directly from the Indo-European stem thereof: "ǵenh" (to produce, to beget, to give birth). Because the achievements of exceptional individuals seemed to indicate the presence of a particularly powerful genius, by the time of Augustus, the word began to acquire its secondary meaning of "inspiration, talent".[19]The term genius acquired its modern sense in the eighteenth century, and is a conflation of two Latin terms: genius, as above, and Ingenium, a related noun referring to our innate dispositions, talents, and inborn nature.[20]

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