Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo

American Lecturer, Essayist and Poet, Leader of the Transcendentalist Movement, Champion of Individualism

Author Quotes

We are made of contradictions – our freedom is necessary.

There never was child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

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.

To educate the wise man, the State exists; and with the appearance of the wise man, the State expires. The appearance of character makes the State unnecessary.

There is One Mind, and… all the powers and privileges which lie in any, lie in all.

There is a crack in everything God has made.

There is a deeper fact in the soul than compensation, to wit, its own nature. The soul is not a compensation but a life. The soul is. Under all this running sea of circumstance, whose waters ebb and flow with perfect balance, lies the aboriginal abyss of real Being. Existence, or God, is not a relation or a part, but the whole. Being is the vast affirmative, excluding negation, self-balanced, and swallowing up all relations, parts, and times within itself.

There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

The youth, intoxicated with his admiration of a hero, fails to see, that it is only a projection of his own soul, which he admires.

There are always two parties, the party of the Past and the party of the Future; the Establishment and the Movement.

The world can never be learned by learning all its details.

The world globes itself in a drop of dew. The microscope cannot find the animal-cule which is less perfect for being little. Eyes, ears, taste, smell, motion, resistance, appetite, and organs of reproduction that take hold on eternity – all find room to consist in the small creature. So do we put our life into every act. The true doctrine of omnipresence is that God reappears with all his parts in every moss and cobweb.

The use of history is to give to the present hour and its duty.

The whole course of things goes to teach us faith. We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word... Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.

The things taught in colleges and schools are not an education, but the means of education.

The universe is fluid and volatile. Permanence is but a word of degrees. Our globe seen by God is a transparent law, not a mass of facts.

The soul may be trusted to the end. That which is so beautiful and attractive must be succeeded and supplanted only by what is more beautiful and so on forever.

The sum of wisdom is, that the time is never lost that is devoted to work.

The simplest person, who in his integrity worships God, becomes God.

The soul contains in itself the event that shall presently befall it, for the event is only the actualizing of its thoughts. It is no wonder that particular dreams and presentiments should fall out and be prophetic.

The right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.

The secret of genius is… first, last, midst, and without end, to honor every truth by use.

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it. There is no event greater in life than the appearance of new persons about our hearth, except it be the progress of the character which draws them.

The reward for a thing well cone is to have done it.

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

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Ralph Waldo
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American Lecturer, Essayist and Poet, Leader of the Transcendentalist Movement, Champion of Individualism