Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo

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

Author Quotes

The order of things is as good as the character of the population permits.

The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances.

The only sin which we never forgive in each other is a difference of opinion.

The most wonderful inspirations die with their subject, if he has no hand to paint them to the senses.

The oceanic working of Nature which accumulates a momentary individual as she forms a momentary wave in a running sea.

The meaning of good and bad… is simply helping or hurting.

The moral cause of the world lies behind all else in the mind.

The lie is in the surrender of the man to his appearance; as if a man should neglect himself and treat his shadow on the wall with marks of infinite respect.

The lover ascends to the highest beauty, to the love and knowledge of the Divinity, by steps on this ladder of created souls.

The history of mankind is the history of arrested growth.

The less government we have the better – the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government is the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual.

The great poets are judged by the frame of mind they induce.

The history of man is a series of conspiracies to win from nature some advantage without paying for it.

The first point of courtesy must always be truth

The glory of Friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. My friends have come unsought. The great God gave them to me.

The first and last lesson of religion is, “The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are unseen are eternal.”

The first lesson of history is the good of evil.

The cruelest foe is a masked benefactor.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

The builder of heaven has not so ill constructed his creature as that the religion, that is, the public nature, should fall out: the public and the private element, like north and south, like inside and outside, like centrifugal and centripetal, adhere to every soul, and cannot be subdued except the soul is dissipated. God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions.

The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.

The alternations of speaking and hearing make our education.

The blazing evidence of immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution.

So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains.

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. 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.

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