Short Summary of "Experience" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Experience is about the forces that determine the common man’s experience. We live in a state of confusion among the lords of life. “Lords of life’ are the forces act on our lives and determine the way we live and sustain our lives.

Emerson believes that man is comforted by nature who tells him that the lords will wear another face tomorrow and that his power is more than that of lords.

It is very difficult indeed to gain a perspective on life until we are a part of and engaged in life. We are confused in our relationship with nature and our powers.

In other words, we are unaware of our own creative powers and vigor and are unable to determine if our efforts are bearing us any fruits. Out material existence is so involving that it leaves no time for us to distinguish productive efforts from the unproductive efforts. The seven elements – Illusion, temperament, succession, surface, surprise, reality and subjectivism are all very closely related and they all have similar nature. Emerson has used all of them to suggest how we fail to see the part of ourselves which is underneath the surface and hidden from us.

Ralph Waldo EmersonOur vision is an optical illusion. We don’t want to look under the surface and have an optical illusion about everyone we meet. We do not care about the higher truth and do something. Our temperament is also pre-determined materially and shut like a prison in the glass.

Emerson dismisses the approach of our temperament which limits to the level of matter and cannot recognize the direct and transforming connection that exists between the God and the individual.

Next is succession which influences a man’s perception of life and does not let you concentrate or keep focus on one thing. Our soul or inner self is looking for one permanent “creator “, but it is human constitution which seeks change in chasing material pursuits. We tend to form an impression of anyone by looking at the surface and fail to see what lies beneath.

The divine force that exists in one and all must be sought in all humans and not just the social status. The element of surprise enlivens our life with magic and keeps us self-limited. We are in awe looking the capabilities of the individuals and their talents and reinforce on it highly. We do not want to grow beyond our talents. Reality is the element that does not change within us. The last element is subjectivism.

Philosophical awareness of human shortcomings is talked in various thoughts and writings. There are constant discussions on how life should be, what is good, what is bad, what should be followed and what not. But the ultimate approach of each individual should be to live his life as his own and not be swayed by reasons and logic. We must not analyze the process of life as it will only disappoint us. The act of balance between the nature and the power of force is essential to the harmony in our existence