The constant progress of Culture is to a more interior life, to a deeper Home. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Home” 1838
 

 

THE INNERMOST LIFE


The Innermost House Foundation is a voluntary association dedicated to renewing the ideal of "plain living and high thinking" at the foundations of American culture. We seek a healing of the nations in the individual soul.
 

 
 
 

I believe in the infinitude of the private man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
 


OUR PURPOSE

We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.                    Abraham Lincoln

We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.
                   Abraham Lincoln

Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another.                    Margaret Fuller

Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another.
                   Margaret Fuller

The man who is right is a majority. We, who have God and conscience on our side, have a majority against the universe.                 Frederick Douglass  

The man who is right is a majority. We, who have God and conscience on our side, have a majority against the universe.
               
 Frederick Douglass
 

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.                          John Muir

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. 
                        
John Muir

When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.                     Chief Tecumsah

When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.
                    Chief Tecumsah

I have taught only one doctrine, namely, the infinitude of the private man.                Ralph Waldo Emerson  

I have taught only one doctrine, namely, the infinitude of the private man. 
              Ralph Waldo Emerson


 

When the legends die, the dreams end;
there is no more greatness.
Chief Tecumsah

Our purpose is to open a path into the woods of the American memory and imagination to renew the inner life of the individual human being.

We live today in the long after-light of America's founding fire, kindled of the wilderness and sparked by enlightened thought. We are hardly conscious that the fire that lay behind us is the fire that smolders within us, for we have left the woods so far behind we do not recognize how little fuel is left for fire.  

Yet there is an ever-growing sense that something has gone missing. It has something to do with the founding ideals of independence, freedom and equality. It has something to do with the renaissance of those ideals as individuality, self-reliance and simplicity. It has to do with land's end, with interdependence, with the West and wilderness. It has to do with native beginnings and mythic landscapes and archetypes of experience.

The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.               Henry David Thoreau

The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. 
           
 Henry David Thoreau

The ideals with which the world associates the transcendental idea of America grew out of an identifiable circumstance, a marriage of mature Old World culture and native New World woods. Where those two great forces met in union, "perpetually passing into one another," they yielded a spirit that transcends circumstance and satisfies a perennial human longing for paradise.

They found no example and no companion, and their heart fainted. What then?    

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.                       Ansel Adams

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit. 
                     
Ansel Adams

It is that paradise we propose to restore to the minds of seekers everywhere by the simple means of providing them with a “victory to the senses” as a companion and guide. It is the transcendental idea of America we seek to renew, when hearts faint every day for want of little more than a modest example of that ideal realized.

We seek that ideal in the tradition of “plain living and high thinking” at the convergence of idealism and realism. We believe that the idea of America may yet prove the "last best hope of earth," and that regaining a living relation to the archetypal dimension of our experience is among the best hopes we have for renewing the inner spirit of individual life.

We hope that the Innermost House project may serve to rekindle the transcendental fire at the heart of the American experiment, and in the light of that fire, that we may be drawn into a creative relationship with our past to cultivate a deeper, higher, more human expectation of the future.

The ideals that once rose before us and above us, we now seek in the simplicity and unity beneath our feet. We are committed to the work of digging the foundations of individual life deep into the bedrock of abiding Nature.