Thinking out loud

As I read Emerson, I thought there were some interesting modern correlatives that could be made, and I was wondering if anyone else had an opinion about this.

To avoid going down into a long philosophical diatribe or discourse I’ll run through a quick philosophical history to put things in perspective.

The Rationalists argued that human reason could derive knowledge about realities beyond human experience simply by moving from one idea to another, enumeration—a very mathematical proposition.

David Hume was skeptical of Empiricism and its possibilities for allowing truthful human knowledge.

Emmanuel Kant agreed with Hume but took the question as step further, and this was his critical philosophy: what and how much can human understanding and reason actually know apart from all types of experience? He then develops his categorical imperatives to answer the question, including theories of a priori and posteriori experiences along with the Phenomenal and Noumenal. (Which closely relates to Emerson’s idea of children effectively perceiving nature in its truest form)

Emerson, while regurgitating both the Romantics and German philosophy (along with religious sentiments to fluff up the morality stuff), began to differentiate between the words and meanings of Rationalism and Reason.

Rationalism is mathematical, thus, everyone should arrive at the same irreducible conclusion. Everything is raw data that the mind decides what is true or not. Reason is a part of Rationalism as possibly an enabler.

It seems that Emerson possibly meant for Reason to mean something else, not a part of Rationalism but more or less, Reason is based in human intuition and is much more suited to the individual, which would support the change during that time period of shifting from religious mass worship to the new idea of individual relationships with God. However, I could be way off here, “This universal soul, he calls Reason: it is not mine, or thine…” (Emerson 27). But then he follows with this, “That which, intellectually considered, we call Reason, considered in relation to nature, we call Spirit.” Not total sure how to interpret this.

Sorry for the long-windedness, I’m trying to give some context to the video but not doing a great job of it… What I think none of these guys accounted for and which they most likely couldn’t, was some type of savant who is not only endowed with an unbelievable ability to harness numbers but to him the numbers are not just raw, empirical data but they actually have color and form, bodies so to speak or as the video said, a landscape. A person who has the ability to mesh Rationalism and Reason. This video of a savant, who has Asperger’s syndrome, sees numbers in synesthesia and the bodies of these numbers have different shapes all the way up to 10,000!  This guy is amazing he learned how to speak Icelandic in a week and can recite pi to over 22,000 within five hours and make no mistakes!

This is just my thinking out loud, could totally be wrong or entirely misinterpreting everything. Its totality up for interpretation.

Also, in the beginning of the Emerson essay there are pictures of natural Fractals, something I found interesting. This video I think is slightly ironic because it’s all digital but also truthful to the very core issue of nature writing and science and their intrinsic oppositions. And it’s also pretty cool.


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