“If I have seen further, it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”
-Sir Isaac Newton
I spent a Sunday morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City two weeks ago. I witnessed a moment in the American Art Gallery Wing. I snapped a picture of this moment, and felt resolutely compelled to write about it:
The beauty of this sculpture was resurrected again through this artist. I noticed his presence and happiness as he was drawing the sculpture. He was utterly and completely in the moment, enjoying every minute.
As I was taking in this moment, I now understood, with more clarity, what Isaac Newton meant with his quote.
How much knowledge is available to us, provided by the ages? What can be created in the present from the knowledge of the past?
Do we become inspired by the accomplishments and creations of great people before us?
Yes, we do.
Can we take our own action from these creations? Can we create even more?
Yes, we can.
Wait, excuse me. I should have answered these questions more responsibly.
The correct answer:
ONLY people who are receptive to this knowledge do, and can.
“If you listen to the great patriarchs you will sure be able to reply to them with the same pitch of voice. Because their tongue and your ear are two organs of the same nature.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson reinforces Isaac Newton’s quote 168 years earlier. The power, beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and self-trust of past greats lie within each one of us. We are all of the same nature. We are all born on this same earth. We all have the same ability to learn, grow, and develop into something more. We are all capable of things just as great, and even greater than those before us.
The shoulders of greats are accessible to us here and now.
But ONLY if we listen and search to find those shoulders. So take a moment and ask yourself these questions:
What pitch of voice do you speak? How far are you willing to see? Who’s shoulders do you stand on? Have you even found shoulders to stand on yet?
If not now, when?
If we listen closely and find those shoulders available to us, well, we just might create our own broad shoulders for someone else to stand on.
The Time is Now.
Sculpture, “The Vine” – 1923
By Harriet Whitney Frishmuth
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY
Self-Reliance, The Essays, by
Ralph Waldo Emerson