I am listening to Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays on an audiobook; and re-reading Carlos Baker's excellent group-biography Emerson among the Eccentrics (1986) - and I am struck by the great sadness that Emerson could have been exactly what Christianity needed, what The West needed - he had all the literary equipment, all the spiritual insights, and a sweet yet impressive nature...
Yet he incrementally turned against Christianity and instead was a precursor of the New Age movement. He pioneered the vacuity of Spiritual But Not Religious.
This was a tragedy, because Emerson was in the right place at the right time - and really nobody else of his stature has arisen that was able to do what Emerson could and should have done.
Why did he fail? well he started off in the wrong place - Unitarianism, which could not last. And he was seduced first by the sexual revolution (not in practice - but in spirit) and then by Leftist politics... the usual story.
Ever since, the West has been stuck pretty exactly much where Emerson left us - between dwindling traditional Christianity and rampant secular Leftism; and has failed to move forward.
What a shame...
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