Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Intellect - On learning
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Intellect
Each truth that a writer acquires is a lantern which he instantly turns full on what facts and thoughts lay already in his mind, and behold, all the mats and rubbish which had littered his garret become precious. Every trivial fact in his private biography becomes an illustration of this new principle, revisits the day and delights all men by its piquancy and new charm.
This is not 'divine help' even though we are scouring our memories. Men say 'where did he get this?' And think there was something divine in his life. But no; they have myriads of facts as good, would they only get a lamp to ransack their attics withal....
Perhaps if we should meet Shakespeare, we should not be conscious of any steep inferiority; no, but of a great equality – only that he possessed a strange skill of classifying and using his facts, which we lacked.