I have only just recently "discovered' the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson by way of Henry David Thoreau and devoured anything I could my hands on by Emerson. His American Scholar address is probably among the most beautiful and uplifting things I have ever read (or heard). Emerson (and Thoreau) should be taught in elementary schools. My only tiny quibble is the religous element that appears in many of his essays but I look at them metaphorically and move on. I am not a believer in throwing the baby out with the bath water that I will dismiss an entire body of work because it contains a few ideas that I personally disagree with. We in dire need hope in this world but we are lead by men who are hopelessly tied to their times and who see neither the past nor the future and merely concerned with the present. Such visionaries like Emerson saw the world in all of it complexities but seemed never to falter in the hope of a better life here on earth. "The world is his who sees through it's pretentions." Amen.