Self-Reliance

For the discussion of philosophical books.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Walker
Posts: 2943
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Self-Reliance

Postby Walker » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:00 am

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost, — and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”

from Self-Reliance
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1841
https://math.dartmouth.edu/~doyle/docs/self/self.pdf

Still required reading in American schools?



*

“Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”

*

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

*

“Your goodness must have some edge to it, — else it is none. The doctrine of hatred must be preached as the counteraction of the doctrine of love when that pules and whines.”

*

“It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. Their rage is decorous and prudent, for they are timid as being very vulnerable themselves. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.”

*

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.”

*

“Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper, in the world which exists for him.”

*

“We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, all philosophy is at fault. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm.”

Dubious
Posts: 1041
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:40 am

Re: Self-Reliance

Postby Dubious » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:51 pm

Emerson wrote some of the greatest essays in the English language, but sometimes his seamless ability to render poetry in prose is a bit over the top. In spite of some disagreements with his conclusions, reading him is as stimulating as listening to great music. Nietzsche, which is not well-known, put Emerson at the top of his very short admiration list. Differences not withstanding, they were both prose champions.

Walker
Posts: 2943
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: Self-Reliance

Postby Walker » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:45 pm

Dubious wrote:Emerson wrote some of the greatest essays in the English language, but sometimes his seamless ability to render poetry in prose is a bit over the top. In spite of some disagreements with his conclusions, reading him is as stimulating as listening to great music. Nietzsche, which is not well-known, put Emerson at the top of his very short admiration list. Differences not withstanding, they were both prose champions.

Ralph was the style of times when folks had more time to ponder. He also took long walks. Tolstoy wrote huge stories to fill the long Russian winters. Life speeded up. Hemingway’s popularity and influence continues on, shaping and conditioning expectations of style.

Emerson on poetry:

“We are lovers of rhyme and return, period and musical reflection. The babe is lulled to sleep by the nurse’s song. Sailors can work better for their yo-heave-o. Soldiers can march better and fight better for the drum and trumpet. Metre begins with pulse-beat, and the length of lines in songs and poems is determined by the inhalation and ex-halation of the lungs. If you hum or whistle the rhythm of the common English metres, – of the decasyllabic quatrain, or the octosyllabic with alternate sexisyllabic, or other rhythms, you can easily believe these metres to be organic, derived from the human pulse, and to be therefore not proper to one nation, but to mankind. I think you will also find a charm heroic, plaintive, pathetic, in these cadences, and be at once set on searching for the words that can rightly fill these vacant beats. Young people like rhyme, drum-beat, tune, things in pairs and alternatives ; and, in higher degrees, we know the instant power of music upon our temperaments to change our mood, and give us its own : and human passion, seizing these constitutional tunes, aims to fill them with appropriate words, or marry music to thought, believing, as we believe of all marriage, that matches are made in heaven, and that for every thought its proper melody or rhyme exists, though the odds are immense against our finding it, and only genius can rightly say the banns.”

http://www.rwe.org/poetry-and-imagination/

ForCruxSake
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:48 am

Re: Self-Reliance

Postby ForCruxSake » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:01 pm

Walker wrote:
Dubious wrote:Emerson wrote some of the greatest essays in the English language, but sometimes his seamless ability to render poetry in prose is a bit over the top. In spite of some disagreements with his conclusions, reading him is as stimulating as listening to great music. Nietzsche, which is not well-known, put Emerson at the top of his very short admiration list. Differences not withstanding, they were both prose champions.

Ralph was the style of times when folks had more time to ponder. He also took long walks. Tolstoy wrote huge stories to fill the long Russian winters. Life speeded up. Hemingway’s popularity and influence continues on, shaping and conditioning expectations of style.

Emerson on poetry:

“We are lovers of rhyme and return, period and musical reflection. The babe is lulled to sleep by the nurse’s song. Sailors can work better for their yo-heave-o. Soldiers can march better and fight better for the drum and trumpet. Metre begins with pulse-beat, and the length of lines in songs and poems is determined by the inhalation and ex-halation of the lungs. If you hum or whistle the rhythm of the common English metres, – of the decasyllabic quatrain, or the octosyllabic with alternate sexisyllabic, or other rhythms, you can easily believe these metres to be organic, derived from the human pulse, and to be therefore not proper to one nation, but to mankind. I think you will also find a charm heroic, plaintive, pathetic, in these cadences, and be at once set on searching for the words that can rightly fill these vacant beats. Young people like rhyme, drum-beat, tune, things in pairs and alternatives ; and, in higher degrees, we know the instant power of music upon our temperaments to change our mood, and give us its own : and human passion, seizing these constitutional tunes, aims to fill them with appropriate words, or marry music to thought, believing, as we believe of all marriage, that matches are made in heaven, and that for every thought its proper melody or rhyme exists, though the odds are immense against our finding it, and only genius can rightly say the banns.”

http://www.rwe.org/poetry-and-imagination/

"For every thought its proper melody or rhyme exists..." - how marvellous!

Thank you, for all of the above. :)

User avatar
Harbal
Posts: 2549
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Self-Reliance

Postby Harbal » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:22 pm

ForCruxSake wrote: how marvellous!

Truly wonderful.

Thank you, for all of the above.

Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of all the above.


Return to “Book Club”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest