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Rev. Joseph W. Neely Reynolds: Information Links

Inspirational Writings

Walden - Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was a complex man of many talents who worked hard to shape his craft and his life, seeing little difference between them. Born in 1817, one of his first memories was of staying awake at night "looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them." One might say he never stopped looking into nature for ultimate Truth.
Ayn Rand - Objectivism
Rand's writing (both fiction and non-fiction) emphasizes the philosophic concepts of objective reality in metaphysics, reason in epistemology, and rational egoism in ethics. In politics she was a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism and a staunch defender of individual rights, believing that the sole function of a proper government is protection of individual rights (including property rights). She believed that individuals must choose their values and actions solely by reason, and that "Man — every man — is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others." According to Rand, the individual "must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A founder of the Transcendental movement and the founder of a distinctly American philosophy emphasizing optimism, individuality, and mysticism, Emerson was one of the most influential literary figures of the nineteenth century. Raised to be a minister in Puritan New England, Emerson sought to "create all things new" with a philosophy stressing the recognition of God Immanent, the presence of ongoing creation and revelation by a god apparent in all things and who exists within everyone. Also crucial to Emerson's thought is the related Eastern concept of the essential unity of all thoughts, persons, and things in the divine whole. Traditional values of right and wrong, good and evil, appear in his work as necessary opposites, evidencing the effect of German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel's system of dialectical metaphysics. Emerson's works also emphasize individualism and each person's quest to break free from the trappings of the illusory world (maya) in order to discover the godliness of the inner Self.
Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, on the West Hills of Long Island, New York. His mother, Louisa Van Velsor, of Dutch descent and Quaker faith, whom he adored, was barely literate. She never read his poetry, but gave him unconditional love. His father of English lineage, was a carpenter and builder of houses, and a stern disciplinarian. His main claim to fame was his friendship with Tom Paine, whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776), urging the colonists to throw off English domination was in his sparse library. It is doubtful that his father read any of his son's poetry, or would have understood it if he had. The senior Walt was too burdened with the struggle to support his ever-growing family of nine children, four of whom were handicapped. Young Walt, the second of nine, was withdrawn from public school at the age of eleven to help support the family. At the age of twelve he started to learn the printer's trade, and fell in love with the written and printed word. He was mainly self-taught. He read voraciously, and became acquainted with Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Scott early in life. He knew the Bible thoroughly, and as a God-intoxicated poet, desired to inaugurate a religion uniting all of humanity in bonds of friendship.
As A Man Thinketh - James Allen