in The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Paperback, Modern Library edition, 2000
This is the first time I have read anything by Ralph Waldo Emerson. While this is just one essay of many it might be a while before I finish the whole book so I thought I would post my cards about this essay since it had a great effect on me. An Emerson reading group is trying to form where I live so I figured I would give it a try. I haven't yet made it to a meeting but I feel like I've benefited already just by reading this essay. Emerson makes many excellent points about the need to think one's own thoughts and to write. While one could take his notion of Self-Reliance too far these days, the points he raises are particularly interesting in light of the global world in which we live.
132- "In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."
133- "...envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide"
"none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he had tried."
134- "These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members."
-"Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs."
135- "Your goodness must have some edge to it- else it is none."
136- to live
-"My life is for itself and not for a spectacle."
"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think."
-"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
-"But do your work, and I shall know you."
138- "...with consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
-"To be great is to be misunderstood."
139- "See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency."
-"Greatness appeals to the future."
140- "a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature."
-"all history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons."
142- worshipping the past- "The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul."
143- "If we live truly, we shall see truly."
-"Fear and hope are alike beneath it."
145- "We must go alone."
146- to live in truth
147 "...he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances."
149- (travelling)- "the wise man stays at home"
150- "Insist on yourself; never imitate."
"Every great man is unique."
"Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much."
153- "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."