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Conduct of Life by Emerson Part 1

Conduct of Life by Emerson Part 1

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Published by: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi on Jun 20, 2011
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08/09/2011

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CONDUCT OF LIFE
Book: Ralph Waldo EmersonReview: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi
Fate
If we must accept
Fate
’, we are not less compelled to affirm liberty, thesignificance of the individual, the grandeur of duty, the power of character.Nature is no sentimentalist does not cosset or pamper us. The way of ‘Providence’ is a little rude. Providence has a wild, rough, incalculable road to itsend, and it is of no use to try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities.
Men are what their mother’s make them.It was a poetic attempt to lift the mountain of Fate, to reconcile thisdespotism of race with liberty, which led the Hindus to say, “Fate isnothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.” 
Circumstance is nature. Nature is what you may do. There is much you may not.The book of Nature is the book of Fate. She turns the gigantic pages, - leaf byleaf – never returning one.The element running through entire nature, which we popularly call ‘Fate’, isknown to us as limitation. Whatever limits us, we call ‘Fate’.And, last of all, high over thought, in the world of morals, ‘Fate’ appears asvindicator, leveling the high, lifting the low, requiring justice in man, and alwaysstriking soon or late, when justice is not done. What is useful will last; what ishurtful will sink.
Intellect annuls ‘Fate’. So far as man thinks, he is free.It is weak and vicious people who cast the blame on fate. The right use of ‘Fate’ is to bring up our conduct to the loftiness of nature.
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In the latest race, the man, every generosity, every new perception, the love andpraise he extorts from his fellows, are certificates of advance out of ‘Fate’ into‘Freedom’. Liberation of the will from the sheaths and clogs of organization whichhe has outgrown is the end and aim of this world.
Life is freedom – life in the exact ratio of its amount.
The pleasure of life is according to the man that lives it, and not according to thework or the place.A man’s fortunes are the fruit of his character. A man’s friends are hismagnetisms. The tendency of every man to enact all that is in his constitution isexpressed in the old belief that ‘
the efforts which we make to escape from our destiny only serve to lead us into it 
’.History is the action and reaction of these two – ‘Nature’ and ‘Thought’ – twoboys pushing each other on the cub-stone of the pavement.Let us build altars to the ‘Blessed Unity’ which holds nature and souls in perfectsolution, and compels every action to serve a universal end.
Let us build altars to the ‘Beautiful Necessity’, which secures that all ismade of one piece; that plaintiff and defendant, friend and enemy, animal and planet, food and eater, are of one kind. Why should we be afraid of nature, which is no other than philosophy and theology embodied? Why should we fear to be crushed by savage elements, we who are made up of the same elements? Let us build to the ‘Beautiful Necessity’ which makesbrave in believing that he cannot sheen a danger that is appointed, nor incur one that is not; to the Necessity which rudely or softly educates himto the perception that there are no contingencies; that Law makesthroughout existence, a Law which is not intelligent but intelligence – not  personal nor impersonal – it disdains words and passes understanding; it dissolves persons; it vivifies Nature; yet solicits the pure in heart to draw all its omnipotence.Power 
His tongue was framed to music, And his hand was armed with skill,His face was the mould of beauty, And his heart the throne of will.
Life is a search after ‘Power’; and this is an element with which the world is sosaturated - and there is no chink or crevice in which it is not lodged – that nohonest seeking goes unrewarded.
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All power is of one kind, a sharing of the nature of the world.Society is a troop of thinkers, and the best heads among them take the bestplaces.
 As long as our people quote English standards they dwarf their own proportions… As long as our people quote English standards, they will miss the sovereignty of power.
The instinct of the people is right.
Strong race or strong individual rests at last on natural forces, which are best inthe savage, who, like the beasts around him, is still in reception of the milk fromthe teats of nature.
Physical force has no value where there is nothing else.
Everything good in nature and the world is in the moment of transition, when theswarthy juices still flow plentifully from nature, but their astringency or acridity isgot out by ethics and humanity.We say that success is constitutional; depends on a ‘plus’ condition of the mindand body, on power of work, on courage; that it is of main efficacy in carrying onthe world, and, though rarely found in the right state for an article of commerce,but oftener in the supersaturate or excess, which makes it dangerous anddestructive, yet it cannot be spared, and must be had in that form, andabsorbents provided to take off its edge.
Concentration is the secret of strength, in politics, in war, in trade, in short,in all management of human affairs.
Many men are knowing, many are apprehensive and tenacious, but they do notrush to a decision. But in our flowing affairs a decision must be made –the best, if you can; but any is better than none. There may be twenty ways of going to apoint, and one is shortest; but set out at once on one.The second substitute of temperament is drill, the power of use and routine.If the forces and their husbandry are within reach of our will, and the laws of themcan be read, we infer that all our success, and all conceivable benefit for man, isalso, first or last, within his reach, and has its own sublime economies by which itmay be attained. The world is mathematical, and has no casualty, in all its vastand flowing curve.
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