Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
“I guess what I don't see here is the necessity of putting emotions, beliefs, feelings on some kind of higher plane. Why make them transcendental?”
I think we see eye-to-eye here. Transcendentalism is anti-intellectual … it does exactly what you mentioned … puts emotions, faith and feelings on a higher plane than other human attributes. But it doesn’t stop there. Making distinctions like these is a watershed. Suddenly monastic or ministerial life is more virtuous than secular professions. Not only are reason, logic and physical labor devalued, but also (and necessarily) professions and disciplines that require developing these “mundane” attributes are devalued. This line of thinking, I believe, is just plain misguided.
“I don't need to modify the intensity of emotions and thoughts with rhetoric that somehow makes them more than something I feel. I feel them and I'm happy with that.”
Good. Don’t change.
“In fact, I wonder at times if people are so busy worried about a world they can't see, feel, hear, touch, taste, or even really think about doesn't limit them from seeing what is here and now and, even worse, what might be done.”
Stops wondering because it happens often enough, but I still think that such worries are isolated and are not the norm (and they are not limited to people worrying about religious matters). However, I think what you are saying is beginning to build something of a straw man. More often than not, the people I know who are intent on exploring what they believe and why they believe it are more likely to that very thing that might, otherwise, go undone. A quick personal example: A group of 12 people in my home church, on their own initiative, took an interest in autism and other disabilities, and formed a respite care group to provide community supports for families dealing with such challenges. Disaster relief services, food banks, soup kitchens, and utility vouchers demonstrate the simple fact that people who think about those things that cannot be sensed, and gather with those who are like-minded, are far more likely to take the steps necessary to address unfulfilled needs in their own gathering and in the community at large.
It’s a shame that these people don’t get more attention.