Friday, February 29, 2008

"As soon as a man is wonted to look beyond surfaces, and to see how this high will prevails without an exception or an interval, he settles himself into serenity.  He can already rely on the laws of gravity, that every stone will fall where it is due; the good globe is faithful, and carries us securely through the celestial spaces, anxious or resigned, we need not interfere to help it on: and he will learn one day the mild lesson they teach, that our own orbit is all our task, and we need not assist the administration of the universe" (467).  

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"The street is full of humiliations to the proud.  As the fop contrived to dress his bailiffs in his livery and make them wait on his guests at table, so the chagrins which the bad heart gives off as bubbles, at once take for as ladies and gentlemen in the street, shopmen or barkeepers in hotels, and threaten or insult whatever is threatenable and insultable in us" (359). 

"So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the pith of each man's genius contracts itself to a  very few hours" (343)

Monday, February 25, 2008

"It is the highest power of divine moments that they abolish our contritions also.  I accuse myself of sloth and unprofitableness day by day; but when these waves of God flow into me I no longer reckon lost time.  I no longer poorly compute my possible achievement by what remains to me of the month or the year; for these moments confer a sort of omnipresence and omnipotence which asks nothing of duraiton, but sees that the energy of the mind is commensurate with the work to be done, without time." (288)

"In my dealing with my child, my Latin and Greek, my accomplishments and my money stead me nothing; but as much soul as I have avails.  If I am wilful, he sets his will against mine, one for one, and leaves me, if I please, the degradation of beating him by my superiority of strength.  But if I renounce my will and act for the soul, setting that up as an umpire between us two, out of his young eyes looks the same soul; he reveres and loves with me." (268)  (Brooks Atkinson, ed. The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Random House, 1950.)

"There is no weakness or exposure for which we cannot find consolation in the thought - this is a part of my constitution, part of my relation and office to my fellow-creature.  has nature covenanted with me that I should never appear to disadvantage, never make a ridiculous figure?  Let us be generous of our dignity as well as our money.  Greatness once and for ever has done with opinion." (258)

Emerson on teaching

"The same reality pervades all teaching.  The man may teach by doing, and not otherwise.  If he can communicate himself he can teach, but not by words.  He teaches who gives, and he learns who receives.  There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you and you are he; then is a teaching, and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever quite lose the benefit.  But your propositions run out of one ear as they ran in at the other." (201)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

 "At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles.  Firend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say - 'Come out unto us.' But keep thy state; come not into their confusion.  The power men possess to annoy me I give them by a weak curiosity.  No man can come near me but through my act." (Ralph Waldo Emerson, p 160)