Tuesday, April 10, 2007

kindness is necessary to perception

From the Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
April 10, 1837

Love is fabled to be blind, but to me it seems that kindness is necessary to perception, that love is not an ophthalmia but an electuary.

Slavery is an institution for converting men into monkeys.
I'll leave you to look up the two medical terms. The institution of slavery, the bias of the US Constituiton in its favor, and the sectional political battles among the Northern, Southern, and Western states turned Emerson from acute observer to impassioned activist beginning in the 1830s and continuing into the years of the Civil War. He saw clearly that slavery destroyed the lives of slave owners as well as those of the slaves.

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