Of proverbs…they give comfort & encouragement, aid & abetting to daily action

Of proverbs, although the greater part have so the smell of current bank bills that one seems to get the savor of all the marketmen’s pockets, & no lady’s mouth may they soil, yet are some so beautiful that they may be spoken by fairest lips unblamed; and this is certain, — that they give comfort & encouragement, aid & abetting to daily action. For example. “There are good fish in the sea as ever came out of it” — is a piece of trust in the riches of Nature & God which helps all men always. Is it so? Is there another Shakspeare? Is there another Ellen?

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:64

Posted in: Journals on February 22, 2013 | No Comments »
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When a man meets a man in the highway strangers to each other…

When a man meets a man in the highway strangers to each other, — all that each demands of the other, is, that the aspect should show a firm mind ready for any event of good or ill; prepared alike to give death or give life, as the emergency of the next moment may require.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:64

Posted in: Journals on February 21, 2013 | No Comments »
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Is it not better to live in Revolution than to live in dead times?

Is it not better to live in Revolution than to live in dead times? Are we not little & low out of good nature now, when, if our companions were noble, or the crisis fit for heroes, we should be great also?

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:64

Posted in: Journals on February 20, 2013 | No Comments »
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All spiritual activity is abridgment, selection

In landscapes it ought to be that the painter should give us not surely the enjoyment of a real landscape; — for air, light, motion, life, dampness, heat, & actual infinite space, he cannot give us, — but the suggestion of a better, fairer creation then we know; he should crowd a greater number of beautiful effects into his picture than co-exist in any real landscape. All the details, all the prose of nature, he should omit, & give us only the spirit & splendor. So that we should find his landscape more exalting to the inner man then is Walden Pond or the Pays des Vaud. All spiritual activity is abridgment, selection.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:62

Posted in: Journals on February 19, 2013 | No Comments »
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I am convinced that if a man will be a true scholar, he shall have perfect freedom

Yesterday at Φ.B.K anniversary. Steady, steady. I am convinced that if a man will be a true scholar, he shall have perfect freedom. The young people & the mature hint at odium, & aversion of faces to be presently encountered in society. I say no: I fear it not. No scholar need fear it. For if it be true that he is merely an observer, a dispassionate reporter, no partisan, a singer merely for the love of music, his is a position of perfect immunity: to him no disgusts can attach; he is invulnerable. The vulgar think he would found a sect & would be installed & made much of. He knows better & much prefers his melons & his woods. Society has no bribe for me, neither in politics, nor church, nor college, nor city. If they will not hear me lecture, I shall have leisure for my book which wants me. Beside, it is an universal maxim worthy of all acceptation that a man may have that allowance which he takes. Take the place & attitude to which you see your unquestionable right, & all men acquiesce. Who are these murmurers, these haters, these revilers? Men of no knowledge, & therefore no stability. The scholar on the contrary is sure of his point, is fast-rooted, & can securely predict the hour when all this roaring multitude shall roar for him. Analyze the chiding opposition & it is made up of such timidities, uncertainties, & no opinions, that it is not worth dispersing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:60

Posted in: Journals on February 18, 2013 | 1 Comment »
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A man must sacrifice his manhood for the social good. Something is wrong, I see not what.

It is very grateful to my feelings to go into a Roman Cathedral, yet I look as my countrymen do at the Roman priesthood. It is very grateful to me to go into an English Church & hear the liturgy read. Yet nothing would induce me to be the English priest. I find an unpleasant dilemma in this, nearer home. I dislike to be a clergymen & refuse to be one. Yet how rich a music would be to me a holy clergymen in my town. It seems to me he cannot be a man, quite & whole. Yet how plain is the need of one, & how high, yes highest, is the function. Here is Division of labor that I like not. A man must sacrifice his manhood for the social good. Something is wrong, I see not what.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:60

Posted in: Journals on February 17, 2013 | No Comments »
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But the benefits we receive must be rendered again line for line, deed for deed to somebody

A good subject for a sermon would be the Doctrine of Benefits. Benefit is the end of Nature. Benefit is done to all by all, by good & bad, voluntarily & involuntarily. Air, water, sun & moon, stone, plant, animal, man, devil, disease, poison, war, vice — all serve. But man is a voluntary benefactor. The meaning of good & bad, of better & worse is simply helping or hurting. He is great who confers the most benefits. He is base — & that is the one base thing in the universe — to receive favors & render none. In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefits we receive must be rendered again line for line, deed for deed to somebody.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:59

Posted in: Journals on February 16, 2013 | 1 Comment »
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The manners of society indicate every hour the consciousness of one Soul

The manners of society indicate every hour the consciousness of one Soul. Put three or four educated people together who have not seen each other for years, & perhaps they shall be unable to converse aloud without force. Each predicts the opinion of the other, so that talking becomes tedious. All know what each would say. Why should I officiously & emphatically offer a pail of water to my neighbor Minot? He has a well of his own that sucks the same springs at the same level that mine does. Why should I drum on his tympanum with my words to convey thoughts to which he has access equally with me?

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks 7:55

Posted in: Journals on January 14, 2013 | No Comments »
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