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What of R.W. Emerson? Was R.W. Emerson Water Tight?

(First in a series).

Emerson advises us that, to turn to his words, "He that watereth shall be watered himself." Functionally, it is now clear, this is one of the earliest American appearances of the Water Tight conception of life, if not actually of the Water Tight life itself. Exploring the earlier Antebellum conception of the Water Tight is clearly a lifelong project. Let us commence now, at this moment.

I do not find it surprising -- and nor should you, friend-- that Emerson focused his wide and unblinking gaze on this quandary of the Water Tightness in changeable societies and as a central factor in the human condition. It was, indeed, exactly the sort of existential dilemma that others seemed unburdened by, if not precisely unconnected from. As he would have it: "As certainly as water falls in rain on the tops of mountains and runs down into valleys, plains and pits, so does thought fall first on the best minds, and run down." Elusive beast, the Water Tight. I am happy at this moment just to let these thoughts of Water Tightness descend. {Another line (and this, alas, not from Emerson): "I am a cesspool/For all the shit/to run down in."}

Emerson then did not seem to exercise a notion of Water Tightness, but this could be the very evidence of his own internal intellectual and spiritual Water Tightness. I fear even to point this out verges on a tone of looseness. I forge on, undaunted and Water Tight.

I ask you (and most especially AP Farm), as part of this project, to consider the following striking Emersonian notion: "We cannot eat the granite nor drink hydrogen. They must be decompounded and recompounded into corn and water before they can enter our flesh." I am sure that Farm will fondly recall many hours discussing these concepts, and he will most assuredly be struck if not momentarily paralyzed by the Water Tight connection of these concepts, the Water Tight loop linking Corn, Flesh, and of course Water itself. Again: "Immortal water, alive even to the superficies."

So we agree then, Emerson and myself. It is in this meeting of our shared Vision that we become Water Tight across these centuries. As he would have it, "Whilst I stand in simple relations to my fellow-man, I have no displeasure in meeting him. We meet as water meets water..." This is perhaps the clearest statement of the Philosophy that I have come across. Certainly the purest of heart, of intent, and of effect.

May we all meet again, as water meets water, Water Tight.
posted by D.S. Monoclonius 12:47 AM