The following is a selection of short tidbits from volume five of Emerson’s journals. They are too short to make individual posts on this blog, but many of them have been posted to the Ralph_W_Emerson Twitter account. Follow Waldo on Twitter for more of the same.
There is room in the world for all men & all gifts.
A superstition is a hamper or basket to carry useful lessons in.
Never a magnanimity fell to the ground. Always the heart of man greets it & accepts it unexpectedly.
All our writings are variations of one air.
We are always on the brink of an ocean into which we do not yet swim.
Can you not show the man of Genius that always genius is situated in the world as it is with him?
Let a man behave in his own house as a guest.
Slavery is an institution for converting men into monkeys.
All good writing might be called Occasional Poems as it is only a composition of many visions in the writer’s private experience.
The roots of what is great & high must still be in the common life.
If with a lowly mind you elect writing for your task in life, I believe you must renounce all pretensions to reading.
Economy does not consist in saving the coal but in using the time whilst it burns.
Why rake up old MSS to find therein a man’s soul? You do not look for conversation in a corpse.
To run after one’s hat is ludicrous.
Every object in nature is a private door that lets in the wise to profound mystery, the music of numbers.
Many trees bear only in alternate years. Why should you write a book every year?
I should think Water the best of inventions if I were not acquainted also with air & fire.
It is ignorance only which complains of a trite subject. Every subject is new to the wise & trite to the incapable.
I know not how directions for greatness can be given. Yet greatness may be inspired.
It is a sublime thing to oversee oneself as we do in Memory.