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Wasitpresumptuousofmetothinkonedaywemightwritesomethingtogetheronthisnewevolutionarycosmology?Thedoorflewopenasifthisskinnymanwithashockofblackhairhadbeenstandingtherewaiting.BeforeIcouldintroducemyself,hesmiledandledmeintotheentrancewaywithcoatsonhooksalongthewallsandacoupledozenpairsofshoesunderthem.Inthelivingroom,Arthursatinawoodenchairandlecturedhislistenersloungingontheleathercouches.Cigarettesmokeandthesweetsmellofpipetobaccofilledthedarkroom.Ihadarrivedatanintellectualtemplewherethepursuitofideasannihilatedanyconcernsforhousekeeping.Iapproachedawomaninthebackwithblackhaircascadingtohershouldersandwithasnakeskinstretchedoverherbody.Asshelookedatme,Isawtheotherhalfofherheadshavedtothescalp,astylethathadnotyetreachedmystudentsinTacoma.ShepointedherfingerinthedirectionofArthurYoung.Hewavedformetojoinhim,asmallmaninhislateseventies,hunchedover,leatheryskin,afewstrandsofhaircombedoverhisskull.I’vebeenlookingforwardtothis,hesaidasIsatdownnexttohim.Hisattentionstokedmyenthusiasm.HeaskedmetointroducemyselfbutinsteadofthatIpraisedhiswork.Iknewnexttonothingabouthisthinking,butIhadanideaofhisoverallaim,whichIadmired.Iendedwithaproclamationthattherewasnothinginallofphilosophyortheologymoreimportantthandealingwiththischallenge,andArthurwasleadingtheway.Howasayoungmanhehadmadetheepochaldecisiontoputoffastudyofabstractphilosophyandfocusonengineeringandphysicsinordertolearnthetruenatureofnature.Hisfirstmajorprojectwastoinventanewflyingmachine.Hesentonedesignafteranotheraloft,manyofthemblowingup,andwitheachexperimenttheteamrefineditsideas.Heworkedinamadsprintforthegloryofbeingtheinventorofthefirsthelicopter.Buttherewasmuchmoreatstake.Thiswasthelate1930s,withaloomingcrisisinWesterncivilization.ArthurYoung’sresearchhadstrongcompetition.AgroupofNaziengineerswasstrivingtowardthesamegoalofprovidingitsmilitarywiththeworld’smostadvancedaircraft.ArthurreveledinretellingthestoryofhisinventionoftheBellhelicopter.Nowandthenhewipedthesweatfromhisupperlipwithahandkerchief,hisforeheadreflectingthedimceilinglamp.Rightinthemiddleofthisstory,hiswife,whowassittingnexttohim,stoppedthenarrative.Shemadenoapologiesforinterruptinghim.Heretractedhisheadlikeanoldturtleresortingtohabitualinstinctsofretreat.AsIleanedforwardtoseeher,Arthurtriedtoscootbackbutdidnothavethenecessaryquadstrengthtoliftthewoodenchair.Sheaddressedmeinavoicewellpracticedingivingcommands.Weareinterestedinmakingagranteithertoyouoryouruniversity,shesaid.Mywife,RuthForbesYoung,Arthursaid,gesturingtowardher.What’sthis?Iasked.Iwanttoenlistyourservices.Sheleanedtowardme,herthinninghairfallingforward.Arthur’stheoryiswhattheworldneedstoescapetheholdofmaterialism.Thelowlevelofhumanity’sconsciousnessmixedwithnuclearweaponsisadirestateofaffairs.Ourquestionforyouisthis.Areyouin?Ilaughed,confused.Whatdoesitmeantobein?Herfacefrostedover.Shefixedhereyesonherhusbandtoremindhimhehadcomeupwiththisidea.DoyouknowwhoIam?IamnotreferringtotheForbesline.Thiswasoneofthemforme.Herwordstransportedmefromoneworldintoanother.SittingbeforemewasthegranddaughterofEdithEmerson,thefavoritedaughterofRalphWaldoEmerson,themostsignificantphilosophicalcosmologistAmericahasproduced.Icouldnothidemyamazement.Emerson’sreflectionsonthenatureoftheuniversehadshapedmylifeinimportantways,buthismostprofoundeffectcamefromhisconfidence.HehelpedmeovercomemysenseofinferiorityforhavinggrownupsomeplaceotherthanEurope.Throughoutmyschooling,whenevertheday’slessonaddressedthedeepquestionsoflife,ourteachersdrewfromculturalachievementsofthinkersandsaintsfromancientandmedievalEurope.Thismadeperfectsense,sincetheoldercivilizationshadbeencreatingworksofthemindformillennia,whiletheculturalachievementsofmyhome,theWestCoastofNorthAmerica,alltookplaceyesterday.HeexplainedthisasevidenceofthepowerofWesterncivilization.Wereadilyacceptedtheimplicationthatwelivedinaphilosophicalandspiritualbackwater.Weconcludedthatifanyonewantedtostudythedeepesttruthsofreality,onewouldfindthemintheworksofEuropeans.RalphWaldoEmersoncounteredthisconclusion.Whyshouldnotwealsoenjoyanoriginalrelationwiththeuniverse?SomethinginsidemecamealivewhenIreadthis.Couldn’twefindourwaytoanoriginalcosmology?DidwehavetocreepbacktoEuropeforallourideas?Hiswordsforgedaspiritualkinshipwithme.Onsomesubconsciouslevel,IplacedhiminmyspiritualpantheonalongsideHomer,Einstein,Isaiah,andJesus.Myadolescentmindlumpedallofthemtogetherinthesamehistoricalrealm,whichIregardedasbeingfarbackintimeandfarawayinspace.Butherwordscollapsedthosetemporalandspatialdistances.Thismeantformethathumanity’sphilosophicalenterprisewasnolongerfar,faraway.Emerson’sdirectdescendentwasinvitingmeintohislinea