From now on I hope Always to stay Alert, to educate myself as best I can. But lacking this, in Future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let The Beautiful Stuff out.
In conversation the game is, to say something new with old words. And you shall observe a man of the people picking his way along, step by step, using every time an old boulder, yet never setting his foot on an old place.
I hear therefore with joy whatever is beginning to be said of the dignity and necessity of labor to every citizen. There is virtue yet in the hoe and the spade, for learned as well as for unlearned hands. And labor is everywhere welcome; always we are invited to work; only be this limitation observed, that a man shall not for the sake of wider activity sacrifice any opinion to the popular judgments and modes of action. An Oration delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge, August 31, 1837.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Source: “The American Scholar” from “Addresses,” published as part of Nature; Addresses and Lectures
Individualism, as a definition of holding to personal ideals, is classed as obstinacy and anti-social. Inevitably we run point blank into the evils of compromise. When compromise enters our moral fibre, it spreads like a cancerous growth. We think we plan adequate safeguards around areas in which we contemplate yielding our standards, but once we lower the fence and break our strong will to do right, come what may, we expose ourselves to forces that spread beyond control. Compromise always starts on some rather insignificant principle. The dangers of yielding seem negligible and we usually risk those things first where observation and detection by others is difficult. We thus seek to avoid censure and discipline. In a short time we find ourselves trading our principles for false values and doing it in the black market of human relationships. . . .
It is sometimes frightening to observe the success which comes even to the outlaw with a polished technique, and we find ourselves doubting the validity of the virtues we have been taught. But I believe we must reckon with character in the end, for it is as potent a force in world conflict as it is in our own domestic affairs. It strikes the last blow in any battle.
The movements of exaltation which belong to genius are egotistic by their very nature. A calm, clear mind, not subject to the spasms and crises which are so often met with in creative or intensely perceptive natures, is the best basis for love or friendship. - Observe, I am talking about minds. I won't say, the more intellect, the less capacity for loving; for that would do wrong to the understanding and reason; - but on the other hand, that the brain runs away with the heart's best blood, which gives the world a few pages of wisdom or sentiment or poetry, instead of making one other heart happy, I have no question.
The premises being thus settled, I proceed to observe that the concatenation of self-existence, proceeding in a reciprocal duplicate ratio, naturally produces a problematical dialogism, which in some measure proves that the essence of spirituality may be referred to the second predicable.