Emerson

The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson selected & Edited by Robert N. Linscott 

Truth is Truth.  The fact that Emerson started these journals in the early 1800’s and his observation and commentary ring true today, is proof of this.  If we can make an effort to find, understand and accept universal truths like these, it is the beginning of the amelioration of our race as human beings.  A chance for us to start to make sense.

Happy the man who never puts on a face, but receives every visitor with that countenance he has on.  – Imagine if we were free to do this!  I think we all fancy ourselves there – or pretty much so.. Except for at work, at church, and of course you have to smile at the grocery store – it’s only polite!  I feel like we’re so well programmed, we change with the circumstances without even remarking.  No judgement, I just think it would be cool.

A lobster is monstrous, but when we have been shown the reason of the case and the colour and the tentacula and the proportion of the claws, and seen that he has not a scale nor a bristle nor any quality but fits to some habit and condition of the creature, he then seems as perfect and suitable to his sea-house as a glove to a hand.  A man in the rocks under the sea would be a monster, but a lobster is a most handy and happy fellow there.    – It’s the almost impossible thing for our species to master; seeing the world through someone elses eyes before judging.

In silence we must wrap much of our life, because it is too fine for speech, because also we cannot explain it to others, and because somewhat we cannot yet understand.

A man writes a book which depleases somebody, who writes an angry paragraph about it in the next newspaper.  That solitary paragraph, whilst it stands unanswered, seems the voice of the world.  Hundreds of passive readers read it with such passiveness that it becomes their voice. ….  –I can’t stop myself thinking of all of these expertly orchestrated media games played on us as citizens every day. 

There is a time when a man distinguishes the idea of felicity from the idea of wealth; it is the beginning of wisdom.  – I believe this truth might be my favorite of any author, ever.  Nothing rings more true in this world of hyper-consumerism and waste.  Right now this country is paying a very high price for not understanding and accepting this truth.  What good is it anyway – putting on airs for people who are doing the same for you?  Inevitably the moment will come when it all falls apart. 

Most young men had rather run in debt or tell a lie than be known by the most elegant young man of their acquaintance to have made their dinner on onions from economy.

There is a capacity of virtue in us, and there is a capacity of vice to make your blood creep.  – I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  After seeing the film “Crash” again the other day, it’s just been on my mind how we really are not the sum of our parts.  Good people do bad things and vice versa, so how do you label?  If we choose to focus the good in ourselves and in others, that becomes the prevalent reality.  If you’re wearing a green and red checked shirt with red pants and a red coat, you will see red as the dominant color in the shirt as well.  The green is there as much as the moment you put it on, but the red dominates.  You could just as easily choose green pants.

The difficulty is that we do not make a world of our own, but fall into institutions already made, and have to accommodate ourselves to them to be useful at all, and this accommodations is, I say, a loss of so much integrity and, of course, of so much power.  -We have to ask ourselves; Who made the institutions?  What are they benefitting?  And who am I being useful to by accommodating myself to someone else’s grand plan?  At some point, we have to stop being sheep.

I believe a hundred dollars a year would support me in the enjoyment of what I love best.  Why toil I then for twenty times as much?  Might I cut and run?  Might I dignifiedly walk away…? – There are so many of us wondering this very thing.  The frustration of working your life away with some promise of being able to “live” better at some random point in the future.  Trapped in a system set up to make a few people very, very rich while allowing the rest of us shmucks to feel like we’re getting somewhere…like we are someone because we’ve got our McMansion, German car and all the other pieces of the dream they’ve sold us.  The dream that keeps us spending, keeps up broke, frustrated and hungry for the next thing they tell us we need. Pawns in their game.  Notice how the money just keeps going out, out, out of our hands – and in to where?

 

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