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Thread: Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I found “The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson” stuffed in a box in my office. Printed 1912 first published 1841, with a hand written message dated 1914.
    I read here and there, but the section titled” Self Reliance”, “Politics” and “Intelligence” are really good. To be frank, the whole book is good. Here is the start to self reliance......I have added the link for the full PDF from “The essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson" 1841 first series, 1844 second series


    SELF-RELIANCE

    “Ne te quaesiveris extra.”

    “Man is his own star; and the soul that can
    Render an honest and a perfect man,
    Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
    Nothing to him falls early or too late.
    Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
    Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.”

    Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher’s
    Honest Man’s Fortune.

    Cast the bantling on the rocks,
    Suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat,
    Wintered with the hawk and fox.
    Power and speed be hands and feet.

    II. SELF-RELIANCE
    I read the other day some verses written by an eminent
    painter which were original and not conventional.
    The soul always hears an admonition in such
    lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they
    instil is of more value than any thought they may contain.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what
    is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,—
    that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall
    be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes
    the outmost, and our first thought is rendered
    back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar
    as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit
    we ascribe to Moses, Plato and Milton is that they set at
    naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men,
    but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and
    watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind
    from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of
    bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his
    thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to
    us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art
    have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach
    us to abide by our spontaneous impression with goodhumored
    inflexibility then most when the whole cry of
    voices is on the other side. Else to-morrow a stranger will
    say with masterly good sense precisely what we have
    thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to
    take with shame our own opinion from another.

    http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmani...essays_rwe.pdf

  2. Thank given for this post:

    Blurock (09-Apr-13), Dave A (09-Apr-13), Vanash Naick (10-Apr-13)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    My biggest take-away in that:

    Great works of art
    have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach
    us to abide by our spontaneous impression with goodhumored
    inflexibility then most when the whole cry of
    voices is on the other side. Else to-morrow a stranger will
    say with masterly good sense precisely what we have
    thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to
    take with shame our own opinion from another.
    There is a degree beyond this - when you put out a thought as a seed to the world and see it come back as an established entity.
    Unfortunately not always with due credit to the original planter; quite often the person who nurtured it and brought it to prominent fruition is given the limelight.
    But satisfying enough when it's something that contributes to the greater good and you know you were part of the creation of it.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Old values were good and our world history have many examples of people with strong character and chivalry. In those days you could do business on a handshake and still have trust in your fellow man.

    I have often wondered how people with such staunch beliefs and such good values could have started and have been involved in such terrible wars, crimes and inhumane actions such as slavery etc.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    At the time, I suggest the French and American concept of equality was still very much in its infancy, and a very long way off from where we are now (which is still far from satisfactory, frankly).

    Where there was any chivalry and honour, it was pretty much confined to peer-to-peer at best I think. And among the privilege-by-birthright crowd, probably more a charade than anything else.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Old values were good and our world history have many examples of people with strong character and chivalry. In those days you could do business on a handshake and still have trust in your fellow man.
    When, where.....which planet...maybe on the other end of the big bang somewhere....
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    This quote has been stuck in my mind for a couple of weeks now.

    A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
    Lao Tzu

    What does this say about parenting, education, management and even religion.....

    Do we lead by example, do we lead from the back, do we lead from the front, or do we lead by enabling those that are being led to do it for themselves!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    Adrian I must agree with you there, I don’t think that men were better back then at all. Like Dave A said “Where there was any chivalry and honour, it was pretty much confined to peer-to-peer at best I think. And among the privilege-by-birthright crowd, probably more a charade than anything else”

    Culture always romances the past

    Morality/Ethics is always in-perfect. It can only react to its time and the world is constantly changing.

    Here is what Emerson thinks of slavery

    RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Nominalist and Realist," Essays
    Slavery is no scholar, no improver; it does not love the whistle of the railroad; it does not love the newspaper, the mail-bag, a college, a book or a preacher who has the absurd whim of saying what he thinks; it does not increase the white population; it does not improve the soil; everything goes to decay.

    Concerning ethics, I Personally prefer Utilitarianism it is a simple idea, but its simplicity makes sense. Like any theory it has its weak points though.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    At the time, I suggest the French and American concept of equality was still very much in its infancy, and a very long way off from where we are now (which is still far from satisfactory, frankly).

    Where there was any chivalry and honour, it was pretty much confined to peer-to-peer at best I think. And among the privilege-by-birthright crowd, probably more a charade than anything else.
    You may be right. It still happens today, where certain groupings of (privileged) people see themselves as being more important than others. That will explain how "other people" (race, religion, creed) could be killed with abandon without a feeling of guilt.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurock View Post
    You may be right. It still happens today, where certain groupings of (privileged) people see themselves as being more important than others. That will explain how "other people" (race, religion, creed) could be killed with abandon without a feeling of guilt.
    I agree.

    I believe that humans have not really changed much in this regard since the beginning of time. I think that all people have evil and good in them, and they choose which shoulder to turn their ear to. When people become powerful it corrupts their balance of good and evil.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
    Lao Tzu
    This is probably the perfect discription of a 'Conservative' form of Government, not a 'Nannie' you can't do this Government but 'Conservative' in that it does not interfere except when people step over the agreed lines of crime, corruption, and lack of delivery of services.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
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