Emerson: Self Reliance – Introduction

(most of this is not Emerson, but interpretation from Richard Whelan)

The universe and everything in it form a single, unified, organic system.

Emerson advocated a life that would be lived in full and constant awareness of that “unity of cause.”

The wise person is one who looks through the phenomenon of the material world and sees behind them the divine spirit, the supreme intelligence, and its laws.

Having faith that whatever happens is always for the best calms the soul – Self Reliance.

We recognize the truth when it comes to us because the Universal Soul has endowed us with the faculties necessary for such recognition. When we perceive a truth – whether it is a universal principle or merely the solution to a personal dilemma – it erupts into consciousness as though we heard it from another.

G-d is within us.

The best way to tune in clearly to the divine signal is to listen in quiet reflection.

Poem lines inscribed on Emerson’s tombstone:

The passive master lent his hand
To the vast soul that o’er him planned.

Emerson maintained that speaking the truth, as you see it, is an act of reverance, as is respecting the infinite interpretations and applications of truth by others.

In the service of truth, you must be willing to endure the scorn of those “little animals” that cherish “a foolish consistency.”

If you would be a man, speak today what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.

Embrace fully the reality of your existence – the intersection of specific talents and limitations with specific circumstances.

If you cannot do what you want, then you must want what you can do.

Love the Universal Soul and be spontaneous.

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