How Ralph Waldo Emerson Explained Cleveland Fandom to Me

I am from Pittsburgh, where we win a lot at professional sports, most recently only a few weeks ago.


This is from the last time, but you get the idea.

I knew that my friends from Cleveland, on the other hand, were long suffering sports fans. I have relatives in Cleveland, went to undergrad in Ohio, and then lived in Columbus, so I thought I had a glimpse into the Cleveland psyche, but when my friends reacted to the recents Cavs  win, I realized I had no idea what they had been feeling.


The depth and level of their reaction surprised me because it was not that they were experiencing joy but that they were being profoundly moved. They went into the wilderness searching for answers but unlike Goodman Brown, they had an episode that renewed their faith.

One of my Facebook friends described what she was feeling as transcendent, which made me realize that the win might be most clearly explained with Emerson and his transparent eyeball.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 2.04.23 PM copy


Emerson writes about the transparent eyeball in “Nature,” and it is one of his most famous passages. While transparent eyeball is not the most elegant of phrases, it perfectly encapsulates how Emerson was feeling. He describes walking through nature and the moment when he takes flight through his relationship to the natural world. When Emerson truly experiences nature, he is on an entirely different plane of existence. This is what he describes as being the “transparent eye-ball.”  Emerson becomes one with nature and humanity and God by moving his spirit out of his body into the larger universe. Emerson does not completely vanish because although he is “nothing,” he still “see[s] all.” He is present enough to capture the moment, yet he has transcended the moment.


via Wikipedia

I know people from Pittsburgh and lots of other places get really, really, really excited about sports, but this Cleveland win seemed different to me. So tell me Cleveland fans, did you feel like an eyeball?


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