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Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Self-Reliance: The intellect is vagabond, and our system of education fosters restlessness. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at home. We imitate; and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind?
Question: Society's quick pace makes it hard to focus and concentrate. What can one to do achieve serenity today?
Emerson: Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
Question: Many in society are afraid of of being themselves and speaking authentically. Why do you think that is?
Emerson: Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.
Question: What is the key to happiness with one's work and occupation?
Emerson: A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.
Question: There are so many popular opinions in society today. How should we know whom to listen to?
Emerson: Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. 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.
Question: What advice do you have for creators and artists who don't think they create original work?
Emerson: Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.
To learn to trust one's self and truly live an authentic life sounds amazingly simple but is much harder in practice.
This week was my third time to read it and by far the most valuable thanks to the Domino Project's beautiful new special edition.
For Emerson, the greatest good is to elevate and worship ones' self, and the greatest sin is to look outside ones' self.
One of the classics that everyone should own at a GREAT price.Published 22 days ago by Noah Thompson
This is a must read for any young adult and an excellent read for anyone else. It's honest, sometimes brutal sometimes uplifting. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Spencer Wood
The book has some hard to understand language but it is a great motivator to make you a better man.Published 1 month ago by Ignacio alonso
Emerson challenges every human soul to live to their fullest potential and quit letting man made institutions, and "moral" obligations hold us back.Published 1 month ago by Valin Klock
This piece is truly beautifully written. The ideas are expressed in such a poetic and powerful way. These ideas are as relevant today as ever before.Published 3 months ago by kaz
Emerson was a difficult read even in his time, but his writings provoke thought and provide enlightenment on the human spirit.Published 3 months ago by Lura
I read this as a hard cover many, many years ago. I still have that small hard cover book. But I picked this edition up for my Kindle. Read morePublished 3 months ago by jjdrymiller
Absolutely brilliant! A great read on thee importance of self-reliance! Emerson expresses himself beautifully with impressive intellect. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lacy