American Scholar NotesWhat makes up an American Scholar?Emerson explores the scholar as one function of a personScholar is “man thinking”Scholar must be individual, courageous, and originalEmerson encourages Americans to not depend on Europe and the past Scholars should be educated by observing natureInstructs individuals who observe nature to see how similar their minds are to natureCircular powerOrderGreater knowledge of nature results in greater understanding of yourselfEmerson says that “Know thyself” and “Study nature” are equivalentPast learning and booksBooks contain learning of the past but they can be dangerousBooks are only a partial truth and are biased based on the society, time, and place, they were written in. Therefore each society and age needs to create its own books and create its own truths.Emerson believes that revering past writers and thinkers too much can discourage people from exploring their own new ideas and seeking their own individual truths”Man hopes. Genius creates. To create, – to create, – is the proof of a divine presence.” Emerson emphasizes thinking original thoughts over a bookworm who draws on knowledge of the past.Emerson suggests that scholars should only resort to books if their own genius dries upIf books are read correctly there is pleasure in reading.Oneness of human mindsGreat thinkers are nourished by any knowledgeGood readers seek out the truth and discard the trivial or biasedCertain kinds of reading that are essential to educated person (history and science)”Can only serve us, when they aim not to drill, but to create.” Reading should be done to foster creativity not for memorization of facts.Scholar’s need for action and physical laborEmerson does not agree with the idea that scholars should not engage in practical actions”Action is with the scholar subordinate, but it is essential.”A person’s past actions become thoughtsActive person has more experiences which can be used as creative materialIdeal life has balanceBalance of physical and mental activities creates strong character”A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.”Scholar’s dutiesScholar must develop self-reliance and must act as repositories of knowledgeShould be able to share knowledge with people Knowledge is a dangerous currency which requires courageScholar must endure poverty, hardship, and solitude while following path of knowledgePreserving wisdom from the past and communicating his true thoughts to the publicThe scholar “who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public illustrious thoughts” must remain independent in thinking”He is the world’s eye. He is the world’s heart.”Universal truth”We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.” Americans should develop their own intellectual culture and stop relying on the literary traditions of Europe.”Brave; for fear is a thing, which a scholar by his very function puts behind him. Fear always springs from ignorance.””Only so much do I know, as I have lived.”IndividualismTime to create new American cultural identityAfter declaring independence sixty years before Emerson wrote this essay, he decides that it is now time for the United States to break free from European influenceEmerson believes this new generation of “American Scholars” will create a native, truly American culture


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