ENGL 40761 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Identity Politics, Truism

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7 May 2017
Notes from Class on Emersons Self Reliance”—Tuesday 24 January
Questions from start of class:
Why should you trust yourself?
What is the self that merits trust?
What is the role of society in relation to the individual?
What you experience is importantas is the expression of the experience that is had. Trust yourself
because you are the only one who knows your experience.
No memes! Everything is, in essence, a socially circulatory meme. Everything becomes caricatured
and socially warped as it is passed from person to person as basically a meme.
Dont be afraid of contradicting your own past. Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. (286)
Trust the process.
Insist on yourself, never imitate. (288).
Image of a college senior standing on a dockthere is a boatyou either step off and get on the boat or
you step off, fall in the water and drown.
This scenario is totally fallacious. What really happens in life is you do one thing and
then you do another thing and then another, and so on. But while doing these things, you
must know how to land on your feetin order to land on your feet, you must trust
Have an effect on the world rather than allow the world to have an effect on you.
Our consciousness and our interaction with the world is the only way that we can know that the world
is true—“My perception of the sun is just as true as the sun itself”—There is no shortcut to finding what
is real. In order to find truth, we must engage in some kind of digging until we reach what feels like a
bottom. It makes no difference in what direction the digging occurswhat matters is only the digging.
Intuitiontaught from inside, from within.
Tuitiontaught from the outside.
Each of this rests on the notion of teachingthe truism that we MUST learn from
ourselvesour interaction with ourselves as well as our interaction with the outside world.
There is this vast consciousness that is a kind of impersonal awareness. It is both divine and grounded in
us on earth. The interpretation and translation of this vast consciousness is what constitutes the Self.
Atman = Brahman
(Self) = (source or substrate of everything)
There is only one Selfand we all share it.
Where he is, there is nature. (275)
3There exists an increasing fear of each other in our rapidly developing agedigital communication,
identity politics, etc. play into this development that is changing (for better or for worse) the way in which
we interact with the world at large. Afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each
other”—a line that is still wildly relevant.
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