The constant progress of Culture is to a more interior life, to a deeper Home.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Home”
A Deeper Home
The Innermost House Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to the practical ideal of "plain living and high thinking" at the heart of high civilization. We seek a unity in nature, fine hand craft and the perennial ideals of the mind as a way home to the original wholeness and harmony of the individual human being.
I have one doctrine: the infinitude of the private man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. to go beyond
The "transcendental" is the extra-ordinary, that which transcends the expectations of ordinary life. It is the light of the forest. It is dawn and dusk. It is Truth, Beauty and Goodness. It is the classic, the ideal, the immortal, the eternal. The transcendental is the higher law and the deeper reality. It is the Word. It is the Wilderness. It is the infinitude of the Soul. We seek a transcendental transformation of ordinary life, a vision of the ideal made real.
Practical transcendentalism is embodied in the heroic ideal of "plain living and high thinking," a wisdom-ethic with deep roots among the American Indian peoples and the civilizations of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It is an unfolding conversation of many voices, seeking that harmony within us we can all call home.
In America, this ideal is often associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson and the experiment in recovered origins undertaken by Henry Thoreau at Walden Pond in 1845. The transcendentalists of the American Renaissance sought to individuate the truths affirmed as self-evident by the founders in 1776. With the closing of the American frontier in 1890, that same ideal went to earth to give rise to the wilderness preservation movement in the West.
The Innermost House Foundation® continues that search for origins and the sources of our renewal. Innermost House has been described as "The Most Inspiring Small House Ever," and its published record has established it among the most widely known small structures of modern times, reaching hundreds of thousands of people from every state and over a hundred nations of the world.
We seek the sources of a sustainable relation to nature in the Mythic Landscape. We seek the sources of creative art in the Archetypes of Craft. We seek the sources of original thought in the Ideals of the Mind. We seek the renewal of our world, not by turning from it, but by turning inward of it toward the individual. We seek the a marriage of nature, culture and spirit in the unity and infinitude of the individual soul.
Innermost House is a continuing experiment in high conversation and "Life in the Woods," undertaken to cultivate a richer and deeper expectation of life in the world. We welcome friends everywhere to join with us in pursuing this transcendental promise of a deeper Home. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, we seek an abiding union in spirit as "the last best hope of earth."
To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes, and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
William Henry Channing