I. Independence of thought AND ACTION REGARDLESS OF SOCIETY’S REACTION.
II. Existence of an inner divine force to give direction.
III. Divine force supplies revelation of truth and beauty.
Quotes from Emerson’s Self-Reliance:
…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.
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 thought: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.
Do your thing, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. A man must consider what a blind-man-bluff is this game of conformity. If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument. p.
For non-conformity the world whips you with its displeasure.
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.
To be great is to be misunderstood.
The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks…. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency.
The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God spaketh, he should communicate not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with his voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the centre of the present thought; and new date and new create the whole.
…in the universal miracle petty and particular miracles disappear.
Man is timid and apologetic. He is no longer upright. He dares not say “I think,” “I am,” but quotes some saint or sage.
…man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time….
Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state….
He who has more soul than I, masters me, though he should not raise his finger.
I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.
…you isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation.
It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.
Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end, is theft and meanness. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness.
The soul is no traveler: the wise man stays at home….
Insist on yourself; never imitate.
Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other.
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.
Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not.