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If other members of that body are the legs and stomach, Emerson saw scholars as the intellect.
And it's through this knowledge and appreciation that we truly begin to transcend ideas of separateness as nature intended.This concept of the unity of all people and things in the universe is essential to understanding most of Emerson's work, particularly 'The American Scholar.' Speeches like this one from Emerson made him the central figure in a particular artistic and philosophical movement of the mid-19th century.The movement stressed the concept of universal unity and the value of intuitive experiences over prescribed ones (i.e., rules and rituals). One of the main points behind 'The American Scholar' was for Emerson to help his audience, primarily scholars themselves, understand the scholar's role as part of the all-inclusive human body.However, he did acknowledge that it is essential, focusing on the value of experiences in the life of a thinker.He even went so far as to say the greatest value of action to the mind is like that of books, and better, since actions are also a great source of inspiration and 'Thinking (itself) is a partial act.' Emerson thought the office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances.Have you ever wished that you could just do things how ever you wanted without having to worry about laws, rules, or other social pressures?Sounds pretty nice in theory, but whether we like it or not, there will always be external consequences for our actions.He does make the distinction, though, that reading books on history and science is essential to scholarly endeavors.The final influence on our intellectual faculties, action, is listed last for a reason, and that's because Emerson and others didn't find it nearly as important to thought.This, he argued, was what drove American intellectuals to mimic popular foreign ideas and works, making their own more marketable, and why he thought 'our American colleges will recede in their public importance, whilst they grow richer every year.' Of course, greed is also essential to owning slaves.Although he never directly addresses the notion of abolition in 'The American Scholar,' Emerson was a known condemner of slavery, and his language in this speech demonstrates that.