Emerson also acknowledged to an audience of college students that newspapers “occupy during your generation a large share of attention” and that the “engaged man can neglect them only at his cost.” Meaning, one supposes, that failing to keep up with the news can hinder social interactions when the discussion turns to current events. Still, though, Emerson advises the young men to spend as little time as possible on the news , since much of it can simply be absorbed through the cultural ether and by judiciously skimming through the papers:
Yet shine forever virgin minds,
Loved by stars and the purest winds ,
Which, o'er passion throned sedate,
Have not hazarded their state;
Disconcert the searching spy,
Rendering to a curious eye
The durance of a granite ledge
To those who gaze from the sea's edge.
It is there for benefit;
It is there for purging light;
There for purifying storms;
And its depths reflect all forms;
It cannot parley with the mean,—
Pure by impure is not seen.
For there's no sequestered grot,
Lone mountain tarn, or isle forgot,
But Justice , journeying in the sphere,
Daily stoops to harbour there.