A sneak peek at this week’s “Highland Views” column. Look for it Saturday in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Elegant Incognito and the Art of the Wild
“I’m more than disturbed by how religious faith can blind people to anyone or anything outside their small, insular community. Faith can certainly create community but it can also block out the greater community which includes the wild world.
In June 1831, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that belonging to any “religious party” is unwise and unnatural. He reasons: “A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a person from the vexation of thinking.” A stunning statement, especially in our inelegantly divided times! To be “incognito” is to conceal one’s true identity. Or, said another way, it is a false identity. One not only hides who they really are, but they project something they are not. We say “two-faced” or “putting on a mask” (which, as we know from the pandemonium of our pandemic, can be a very sensitive issue).
And how does masking our true identity serve us? It is devised, invented, to save us from “the vexation of thinking.” We don’t want to have to think too hard—it’s so annoying, bothersome, inconvenient. So we go with the herd, tramping the well-worn paths, unaware of the harm we do, or the beauty in view.”
Read the whole column this Saturday in the ACT (and posted here)