A journal entry from Ralph Waldo Emerson, dated November 2, 1833 reads “Nature is a language, and every new fact that we learn is a new word; but rightly seen, taken all together, it is not merely a language, but the language put together into a most significant and universal book. I wish to learn the language, not that I may learn a new set of nouns and verbs, but that I may read the great book which is written in that tongue.”
This quote came to me from Encyclopedia Britannica blog, who featured the artist Wendy Wahl. In describing why she chose to create art from discarded Encyclopedia Britannicas, she cited the above quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I find Ms. Wahl’s art incredibly moving and inspiring as I, too, push forward into a world that Emerson describes, a world with its own discourses, its own poetry, and its own secret syntax. I have never felt more as if I am stumbling towards some kind of proficiency than I do now.
What inspires us to learn the language? to seek out new knowledge? What is it that pushes us to question, to ponder, to tinker? What about you? What inspires and motivates you?