Hexagram 33

Hexagram 33

Ralph Waldo Emerson on why travel is a bad idea:

"Traveling is a fool's paradise," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. He had a lot to say about the follies of travel in his essay Self-Reliance while Melville was lost in the South Seas...

The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance.

And here is his countenance and his hexagram, Heaven over the Mountain: the Superior Man, keeping his distance from men of inferior character, not angry but dignified.

While Melville appreciated much that Emerson wrote, he didn't like him ("this Plato who talks thro' his nose" he said, early on ) and he thought his views on travel were contemptible, ridiculing him in his novel Pierre and in his letters:

I could readily see in Emerson, notwithstanding his merit, a gaping flaw. It was, the insinuation, that had he lived in those days when the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions. These men are all cracked right across the brow."

He could just as well be referring here to Joseph Smith. Both Emerson and Smith had their gazes directed over the heads of their contemporaries, upwards towards Heaven.