Self-Reliance

from Essays: First Series (1841)
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ne te quaesiveris extra." "Man is his own star; and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man, Commands all light, all influence, all fate; Nothing to him falls early or too late. Our acts our angels are, or good or ill, Our fatal shadows that walk by us still."
Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune

Cast the bantling on the rocks, Suckle him with the she-wolf's teat; Wintered with the hawk and fox, Power and speed be hands and feet. ESSAY II Self-Reliance I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instil is of more value than any thought they may contain. 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. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,�� and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. 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 thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony.

redeemers. as it were. and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. He cumbers himself never about consequences. if it will stand by itself. betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart. He would utter opinions on all passing affairs. unbiased. And we are now men. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. eloquent. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm. and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age. observe again from the same unaffected. Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. and having observed. independent. There is no Lethe for this. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best. then. no invention. that he could pass again into his neutrality! Who can thus avoid all pledges. Great men have always done so. interesting. but necessary. but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of . Do not think the youth has no force. silly. but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. but what he has said or done otherwise. genuine verdict. he tries and sentences them on their merits. troublesome. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one. we are disconcerted. bad. and advancing on Chaos and the Dark. but guides. the connection of events. looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by. Their mind being whole. and not minors and invalids in a protected corner. as good. irresponsible. so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. which being seen to be not private. no hope. Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it. watched by the sympathy or the hatred of hundreds. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you. their eye is as yet unconquered. babes. unaffrighted innocence. whose affections must now enter into his account. Ah. that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose. these have not. In the attempt his genius deserts him. You must court him: he does not court you. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat. and even brutes! That divided and rebel mind. in the swift.The eye was placed where one ray should fall. he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary. he is a committed person. We but half express ourselves. and when we look in their faces. not cowards fleeing before a revolution. obeying the Almighty effort. But the man is. in the face and behaviour of children. and put them in fear. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues. is the healthy attitude of human nature. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic. unbribable. and benefactors. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse. no muse befriends. so it be faithfully imparted. predominating in all their being. These are the voices which we hear in solitude. summary way of boys. and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by. working through their hands. clapped into jail by his consciousness. Bashful or bold. about interests: he gives an independent. must always be formidable. because he cannot speak to you and me. shall give him no peace. and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny. that it might testify of that particular ray. would sink like darts into the ear of men. The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner. What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text. the society of your contemporaries.

uncharitable ambition with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off. I do not wish to expiate. for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder. The virtue in most request is conformity. Their virtues are penances. � though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar.every one of its members. thou foolish philanthropist. and the thousandfold Relief Societies. Are they my poor? I tell thee. it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold. What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions. rather the exception than the rule. Absolve you to yourself. Whim. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. Self-reliance is its aversion. I shun father and mother and wife and brother. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. that I grudge the dollar. the education at college of fools. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition. The doctrine of hatred must be preached as the counteraction of the doctrine of love when that pules and whines. so it be genuine and equal. alms to sots. Virtues are. who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last. to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. � "But these impulses may be from below." I replied." No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. again. � as invalids and the insane pay a high board. when my genius calls me. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness. Society is a joint-stock company. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold. 'Go love thy infant. but we cannot spend the day in explanation. Then. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser. as some piece of courage or charity. to large societies and dead institutions. Men do what is called a good action. why should I not say to him. as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. the cent. of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. the dime. and you shall have the suffrage of the world. as a good man did to-day. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this. "They do not seem to me to be such. but must explore if it be goodness. There is the man and his virtues. the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand. do not tell me. not from above. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. for them I will go to prison. love thy woodchopper: be good-natured and modest: have that grace. Your goodness must have some edge to it. I will live then from the Devil. but your miscellaneous popular charities. if need be.' Rough and graceless would be such greeting. if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested. but if I am the Devil's child. in the popular estimate. shall that pass? If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition. Their works are done as an apology or extenuation of their living in the world. in which the members agree. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. but truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. but names and customs. and comes to me with his last news from Barbadoes. Thy love afar is spite at home. and never varnish your hard. much as they would pay a fine in expiation of daily non-appearance on parade. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain. Expect me not to show cause why I seek or why I exclude company. I would write on the lintels of the door-post. the only wrong what is against it. but to live. On my saying. It loves not realities and creators. the only right is what is after my constitution. If malice and vanity wear the coat of philanthropy. � else it is none. I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names. than that it should be . I ought to go upright and vital. and speak the rude truth in all ways.

This rule. And. that it scatters your force. not what the people think. I cannot consent to pay for a privilege where I have intrinsic right. but the sour faces of the multitude. I know that for myself it makes no difference whether I do or forbear those actions which are reckoned excellent. If this aversation had its origin in contempt and resistance like his own. We come to wear one cut of face and figure. not spontaneously moved. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. Their two is not the real two. he will do no such thing? Do I not know that he is pledged to himself not to look but at one side. If you maintain a dead church. of course. Their every truth is not quite true. What I must do is all that concerns me. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars. their four not the real four. and these airs of the bench are the emptiest affectation. I ask primary evidence that you are a man. contribute to a dead Bible-society. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion. but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. and we know not where to begin to set them right." the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease in answer to conversation which does not interest us. have no deep cause. Well. The by-standers look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlour. I anticipate your argument. The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is. Few and mean as my gifts may be. but false in all particulars. A man must consider what a blindman's-buff is this game of conformity. but moved by a low usurping wilfulness. I hear a preacher announce for his text and topic the expediency of one of the institutions of his church. he might well go home with a sad countenance. and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. The muscles. For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony. and I shall know you. There is a mortifying experience in particular. most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief. It is the harder. because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. it is easy in solitude to live after our own. vote with a great party either for the government or against it. � under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face. so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. I mean "the foolish face of praise.glittering and unsteady. Yet is the discontent of the . and not to need diet and bleeding. and you shall reinforce yourself. so that every word they say chagrins us. equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life. But do your work. Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison-uniform of the party to which we adhere. like their sweet faces. not as a man. I wish it to be sound and sweet. authors of a few lies. Do your work. but as a parish minister? He is a retained attorney. and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. I actually am. spread your table like base housekeepers. with all this ostentation of examining the grounds of the institution. If I know your sect. but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs. Do I not know beforehand that not possibly can he say a new and spontaneous word? Do I not know that. and refuse this appeal from the man to his actions. � the permitted side. grow tight about the outline of the face with the most disagreeable sensation. which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history.

I cannot doubt. and Luther. There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions. All the sallies of his will are rounded in by the law of his being. though they should clothe God with shape and color. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. let me record day by day my honest thought without prospect or retrospect. and we are loath to disappoint them. though it contradict every thing you said to-day. as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere. and Newton. but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present. One tendency unites them all. and it straightens itself to the average tendency. a reverence for our past act or word. Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions. But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory. yield to them heart and life. the actions will be harmonious. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. In this pleasing. These varieties are lost sight of at a little distance. what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone. Your genuine action will explain itself. The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.' � Is it so bad. then. however unlike they seem. it will be found symmetrical. Nor does it matter how you gauge and try him. Leave your theory. and see it not. because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts. at a little height of thought. I suppose no man can violate his nature. and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again. when the ignorant and the poor are aroused. adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. or across. it still spells the same thing. so they be each honest and natural in their hour. and Jesus. and Copernicus. We pass for what we are. See the line from a sufficient distance. Speak what you think now in hard words. Their rage is decorous and prudent. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added. and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.multitude more formidable than that of the senate and the college. scarcely even in acts of pure memory. and Socrates. lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself. and Galileo. For of one will. so you shall be sure to be misunderstood. The swallow over my window should interweave that thread or straw he carries in his bill into my web also. Character teaches above our wills. To be great is to be misunderstood. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. for they are timid as being very vulnerable themselves. though I mean it not. as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot. The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency. � 'Ah. A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza. to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood. and live ever in a new day. and will explain your other . � read it forward. and. and flee. contrite wood-life which God allows me. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity: yet when the devout motions of the soul come. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow. My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects. backward.

but I am to settle its claims to praise. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward. of Clarkson. reminds you of nothing else. that a true man belongs to no other time or place. I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency. He measures you. and therefore of an old immaculate pedigree. and. there is nature. that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works. every body in society reminds us of somewhat else. The force of character is cumulative. but is the centre of things. A man Caesar is born. � and posterity seem to follow his steps as a train of clients. Your conformity explains nothing. or of some other person. petitioners to his faculties that they will come out and take possession. and you always may. That popular fable of the sot who was picked up dead drunk in the street. and for ages after we have a Roman Empire. even if shown in a young person. But the man in the street. Let a man then know his worth. Every true man is a cause. Act singly. He is attended as by a visible escort of angels. What makes the majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field. on his waking. Let him not peep or steal. I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Instead of the gong for dinner. Character. and all men. That is it which throws thunder into Chatham's voice. self-derived. as. and what you have already done singly will justify you now. I wish that he should wish to please me. Greatness appeals to the future. The man must be so much. and scorn eyes. Christ is born. much like a gay equipage. Milton called "the height of Rome". and an age. . of the Hermit Antony. The picture waits for my verdict: it is not to command me. and hurl in the face of custom. which so fills the imagination? The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind. and dignity into Washington's port.genuine actions. or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy. or an interloper. but is self-dependent. Methodism. I will stand here for humanity. reality. I would make it true. of Fox. Ordinarily. requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design. and trade. Be it how it will. Scipio. All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this. in the world which exists for him. Monachism. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right. of Wesley. the Reformation. Abolition. because it is not a trap for our love and homage. the fact which is the upshot of all history. and all history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons. I do not wish to please him. Sir?' Yet they all are his. and office. that he must make all circumstances indifferent. or a costly book have an alien and forbidding air. and America into Adams's eye. Let us never bow and apologize more. and millions of minds so grow and cleave to his genius. and all events. They shed an united light on the advancing actor. Quakerism. suitors for his notice. treated with all obsequious ceremony like the duke. a country. of Luther. do right now. 'Who are you. and seem to say like that. let us hear a whistle from the Spartan fife. It is always ancient virtue. To him a palace. a bastard. and though I would make it kind. Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times. Always scorn appearances. Honor is venerable to us because it is no ephemeris. finding no worth in himself which corresponds to the force which built a tower or sculptured a marble god. An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man. We love it and pay it homage. A great man is coming to eat at my house. it takes place of the whole creation. that he is confounded with virtue and the possible of man. Where he is. and keep things under his feet. carried to the duke's house. a statue. feels poor when he looks on these. and assured that he had been insane. We worship it to-day because it is not of to-day. washed and dressed and laid in the duke's bed.

as followed their public and renowned steps. whilst all later teachings are tuitions. not to be disputed. did they wear out virtue? As great a stake depends on your private act to-day. from space. and Gustavus? Suppose they were virtuous. When private men shall act with original views. He may err in the expression of them. � the idlest reverie. which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. the right of every man. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm. The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. was the hieroglyphic by which they obscurely signified their consciousness of their own right and comeliness. and in course of . who is in the world a sort of sot. or the great proprietor to walk among them by a law of his own. and represent the law in his person. Kingdom and lordship. that it symbolizes so well the state of man. my children will see it after me. and of life. for. But perception is not whimsical. from light. at once the essence of genius. from time. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. who have so magnetized the eyes of nations. Why all this deference to Alfred. but now and then wakes up. the noble. command my curiosity and respect. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence. We first share the life by which things exist. In that deep force. and his involuntary perceptions. For. they do not distinguish between perception and notion. the sum total of both is the same. of virtue. are a gaudier vocabulary than private John and Edward in a small house and common day's work. and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. make his own scale of men and things. the sense of being which in calm hours rises. and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism. without calculable elements. we do nothing of ourselves. Thoughtless people contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions. Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind. but he knows that these things are so. like day and night.owes its popularity to the fact. pay for benefits not with money but with honor. When we discern justice. all philosophy is at fault. which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions. from man. we know not how. if the least mark of independence appear? The inquiry leads us to that source. It has been taught by this colossal symbol the mutual reverence that is due from man to man. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom. when we discern truth. and forget that we have shared their cause. They fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. but allow a passage to its beams. if we seek to pry into the soul that causes. which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. and reverse theirs. The joyful loyalty with which men have everywhere suffered the king. but the things of life are the same to both. and afterwards see them as appearances in nature. in the soul. our imagination plays us false. or rather much more readily. without parallax. and finds himself a true prince. In history. The world has been instructed by its kings. and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed. the lustre will be transferred from the actions of kings to those of gentlemen. If I see a trait. all things find their common origin. exercises his reason. on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that sciencebaffling star. power and estate. the last fact behind which analysis cannot go. but fatal. the faintest native emotion. and Scanderbeg. My wilful actions and acquisitions are but roving. Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic. Who is the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self. If we ask whence this comes. but one with them. is not diverse from things. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition.

petty and particular miracles disappear. they exist with God to-day. believe him not. therefore. they understand them. Before a leafbud has burst. Man is timid and apologetic. they are for what they are. he is no longer upright. old things pass away. and. at any time. not one thing. All things are made sacred by relation to it. where it is. in the universal miracle. Yet see what strong intellects dare not yet hear God himself. And now at last the highest truth on this subject remains unsaid. afterwards. they can use words as good when occasion comes. and new date and new create the whole. then. you shall not discern . and absorbs past and future into the present hour. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong. Whenever a mind is simple. or Paul. and history is an impertinence and an injury. but the soul is light. we shall see truly. it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being? Whence. The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure. For my perception of it is as much a fact as the sun. and receives a divine wisdom. that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. its whole life acts. he dares not say 'I think. for all that we say is the far-off remembering of the intuition. time. from the centre of the present thought. is this. souls. When we have new perception. texts. or Jeremiah. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present. All things are dissolved to their centre by their cause. is night. should scatter forth light. and are willing to let the words go. This should be plain enough. When good is near you. heedless of the riches that surround him. teachers. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes. a man claims to know and speak of God. for. When a man lives with God. it is not by any known or accustomed way. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones. That thought. his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn. all mankind. nature. There is simply the rose.' but quotes some saint or sage. or. where it was. probably cannot be said. by what I can now nearest approach to say it. is day. as they grow older. and it satisfies nature. this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul. it lives now. we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish. � one as much as another. Its nature is satisfied. in the full-blown flower there is no more. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate. � painfully recollecting the exact words they spoke. We shall not always set so great a price on a few texts. on a few lives. but with reverted eye laments the past. temples fall. � although it may chance that no one has seen it before me. he does not live in the present. when you have life in yourself. in another world.' 'I am. in the leafless root there is no less. and. in all moments alike. but all things. of the men of talents and character they chance to see. There is no time to them. when they come into the point of view which those had who uttered these sayings. We are like children who repeat by rote the sentences of grandames and tutors. stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. unless he speak the phraseology of I know not what David. should fill the world with his voice. � means. as it is for the weak to be weak.time. and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country. If. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. If we live truly. But man postpones or remembers. above time. if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.

We fancy it rhetoric. It shall exclude example and experience. All persons that ever existed are its forgotten ministers. All things real are so by so much virtue as they contain. all reputation to a shame. Why should we assume the faults of our friend. centuries. the resolution of all into the ever-blessed ONE. The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation. There is somewhat low even in hope. This which I think and feel underlay every former state of life and circumstances. husbandry. You take the way from man. hunting. Power ceases in the instant of repose. begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary! So let us always sit. nations. � long intervals of time. as on every topic. whaling. shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.�� the way. personal weight. you shall not hear any name. In the hour of vision. in the darting to an aim. nor properly joy. are demonstrations of the self-sufficing. Thus all concentrates: let us not rove. there is nothing that can be called gratitude. and our docility to our own law demonstrate the poverty of nature and fortune beside our native riches.the foot-prints of any other. for God is here within. I see the same law working in nature for conservation and growth. are somewhat. Life only avails. � are of no account. not the having lived. shall be wholly strange and new. by the law of nature must overpower and ride all cities. the thought. How far off. perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right. by a simple declaration of the divine fact. Round him I must revolve by the gravitation of spirits. there will be power not confident but agent. turns all riches to poverty. but it goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other men. Vast spaces of nature. and what is called death. rich men. and calms itself with knowing that all things go well. eloquence. Fear and hope are alike beneath it. not to man. Let our simplicity judge them. it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state. and what is called life. Bid the invaders take the shoes from off their feet. how cool. nor is his genius admonished to stay at home. I like the silent church before the service begins. and that a man or a company of men. This one fact the world hates. let us sit at home with the cause. kings. who are not. We must go alone. Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself. poets. But now we are a mob. Why. you shall not see the face of man. We do not yet see that virtue is Height. the vital resources of every animal and vegetable. Who has more obedience than I masters me. Power is in nature the essential measure of right. and engage my respect as examples of its presence and impure action. then. This is the ultimate fact which we so quickly reach on this. or . for that for ever degrades the past. how chaste the persons look. years. to put itself in communication with the internal ocean. Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause. the Atlantic Ocean. and therefore selfrelying soul. confounds the saint with the rogue. plastic and permeable to principles. Speak rather of that which relies. its poise and orbit. that the soul becomes. in the shooting of the gulf. the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind. war. the South Sea. the good. To talk of reliance is a poor external way of speaking. as it does underlie my present. though he should not raise his finger. because it works and is. Man does not stand in awe of man. The genesis and maturation of a planet. do we prate of self-reliance? Inasmuch as the soul is present. Commerce. Let us stun and astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions. and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms. when we speak of eminent virtue. better than any preaching.

if you are not. Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse. child. I shall endeavour to nourish my parents. come not into their confusion." If we cannot at once rise to the sanctities of obedience and faith. and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. to be the chaste husband of one wife. all knock at once at thy closet door. Consider whether you have satisfied your relations to father. O brother. I give them by a weak curiosity. cleave to your companions. to support my family. even to the extent of being ashamed of it. I appeal from your customs. If you cannot. then will they justify me. But your isolation must not be mechanical. sickness. courage and constancy. O wife. or in the reflex way. or are said to have the same blood? All men have my blood. or father. But I may also neglect this reflex standard. I will still seek to deserve that you should. and mere antinomianism. it will bring us out safe at last. I will love you. or you. when they look out into the region of absolute truth. Check this lying hospitality and lying affection. It denies the name of duty to many offices that are called duties. You may fulfil your round of duties by clearing yourself in the direct. and say. it enables me to dispense with the popular code. but spiritual. If you are noble. cat. and all men's. I do this not selfishly. If you can love me for what I am. I will seek my own. It is alike your interest. O father. I must be myself. client. But the law of consciousness abides. that is. or child. High be his heart. The power men possess to annoy me. fear. but by desire we bereave ourselves of the love. in one or the other of which we must be shriven. � But so you may give these friends pain. and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. and mine. and I have all men's. and absolve me to myself. neighbour. And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity. Henceforward I am the truth's. and wake Thor and Woden. mother. Friend. let us enter into the state of war. but not in the same truth with me. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine. town. and the heart appoints. because they sit around our hearth. cousin. I cannot break myself any longer for you. that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me.wife. whether any of these can upbraid you.' But keep thy state. I will so trust that what is deep is holy. No man can come near me but through my act. The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard. O friend. O mother. But if I can discharge its debts. . Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. but I cannot sell my liberty and my power. to live in truth. � 'Come out unto us. I will have no covenants but proximities. If you are true. must be elevation. � but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. we shall be the happier. let us at least resist our temptations. however long we have dwelt in lies. I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. let him keep its commandment one day. Besides. and. in our Saxon breasts. At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. but humbly and truly. charity. and dog. Say to them. This is to be done in our smooth times by speaking the truth. to save their sensibility. There are two confessionals. want. "What we love that we have. Yes. if we follow the truth. Not for that will I adopt their petulance or folly. all persons have their moments of reason. and do the same thing. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. If any one imagines that this law is lax.

and customs out of the window. our occupations. � . tossing the laws. Let a Stoic open the resources of man. like a cat. edits a newspaper. We are afraid of truth. he will not beg. goes to Congress. idolatries. buys a township. our religion. have an ambition out of all proportion to their practical force. in their education. the books. and afraid of each other. but we see that most natures are insolvent. falls on his feet. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. clear his sight. It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men. As soon as the man is at one with God. they lose all heart. desponding whimperers. but society has chosen for us. that he should be ashamed of our compassion. that with the exercise of self-trust. farms it. their association. keeps a school. is worth a hundred of these city dolls. men say he is ruined. new powers shall appear.' for he does not postpone his life. he will see the need of these ethics. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont. and always. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. that he may in good earnest be doctrine. and so forth. our arts. We want men and women who shall renovate life and our social state. and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York. society. Prayer that craves a particular commodity.faithful his will. but thank and revere him. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it. Our housekeeping is mendicant. but can and must detach themselves. though for cheap ends. and we are become timorous. and mediatorial and miraculous. we have not chosen. � and that teacher shall restore the life of man to splendor. We shun the rugged battle of fate. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened. their modes of living. law. to himself. If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises. In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. 1. peddles. and feels no shame in not 'studying a profession. The sinew and heart of man seem to be drawn out. our marriages. in their religion. replies. and tell men they are not leaning willows. are true prayers heard throughout nature. that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others! If any man consider the present aspects of what is called by distinction society. He will then see prayer in all action. who in turn tries all the professions. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. we pity him no more. preaches. He walks abreast with his days. in their pursuits. born to shed healing to the nations. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges. � is vicious. the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar. � any thing less than all good. who teams it. in their property. and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural. but a hundred chances. We are parlour soldiers. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue. but lives already. in Fletcher's Bonduca. If the young merchant fails. and do lean and beg day and night continually. when admonished to inquire the mind of the god Audate. afraid of fortune. in successive years. where strength is born. and that the moment he acts from himself. and in complaining the rest of his life. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. in their speculative views. that a man is the word made flesh. cannot satisfy their own wants. Caratach. and make his name dear to all history. afraid of death. He has not one chance.

2. a Bentham. which are also classifications of some powerful mind acting on the elemental thought of duty. The soul is no traveller. speak any man with us. We come to them who weep foolishly. putting them once more in communication with their own reason. all young and joyful. the classification is idolized. England. and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance. The pupil takes the same delight in subordinating every thing to the new terminology. If it prove a mind of uncommon activity and power. 'Let not God speak to us. will beam over the universe as on the first morning. Swedenborgism. lest we die. In manly hours. and when his necessities. that he . all honors crown. and we will obey. so are their creeds a disease of the intellect. we feel that duty is our place. so that the walls of the system blend to their eye in the remote horizon with the walls of the universe. It will happen for a time."His hidden meaning lies in our endeavours. even into theirs. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet. attend your own work. presently their neat new pinfold will be too strait and low. Italy. They say with those foolish Israelites. passes for the end. 'It must be somehow that you stole the light from us." Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. and man's relation to the Highest. In proportion to the depth of the thought. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. it imposes its classification on other men. he is at home still. Every new mind is a new classification.' They do not yet perceive. Egypt. retains its fascination for all educated Americans. If they are honest and do well. or his brother's brother's God. and recites fables merely of his brother's. will crack. his duties. a Hutton. the wise man stays at home. unsystematic. a Fourier.' Everywhere I am hindered of meeting God in my brother. or into foreign lands. because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. "the blessed Immortals are swift. and lo! a new system. all eyes follow with desire. on any occasion call him from his house. the luminaries of heaven seem to them hung on the arch their master built. as a girl who has just learned botany in seeing a new earth and new seasons thereby. because he has shut his own temple doors. will rot and vanish. The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. But in all unbalanced minds. Our love goes out to him and embraces him. that the pupil will find his intellectual power has grown by the study of his master's mind. or Greece venerable in the imagination did so by sticking fast where they were. that light. and not for a speedily exhaustible means. million-colored. The gods love him because men hated him. Regret calamities." said Zoroaster. because he did not need it. They who made England. Our valors are our best gods. instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks. a Lavoisier. � how you can see. Quakerism. if not. like an axis of the earth. will lean. and the immortal light. Let them chirp awhile and call it their own. indomitable. will break into any cabin. if you can thereby help the sufferer. Our sympathy is just as base. is his complacency. But chiefly is this apparent in creeds and churches. whose idols are Italy. million-orbed. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him. a Locke. and already the evil begins to be repaired. Speak thou. Such is Calvinism. It is for want of self-culture that the superstition of Travelling. and sit down and cry for company." As men's prayers are a disease of the will. They cannot imagine how you aliens have any right to see. "To the persevering mortal. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. and so to the number of the objects it touches and brings within reach of the pupil.

the length of the day. all eloquent. We imitate. embark on the sea. convenience. At home I dream that at Naples. and at last wake up in Naples. Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare. and benevolence. and lose my sadness. half possession. considering the climate. I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe. or Newton? Every great man is a unique. for the purposes of art. or trowel of the Egyptians. but different from all these. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. and not like an interloper or a valet. 3. obey thy heart. till that person has exhibited it. That which each can do best. travels away from himself. the wants of the people. for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions. and the palaces. or Washington. and visits cities and men like a sovereign. The soul created the arts wherever they have flourished. and there beside me is the stern fact. The intellect is vagabond. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life. grandeur of thought. And why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic model? Beauty. lean. It was an application of his own thought to the thing to be done and the conditions to be observed. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at home. I pack my trunk. He who travels to be amused. Do that which is assigned you. . embrace my friends. and follow the Past and the Distant. Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin. but if you can hear what these patriarchs say. his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. of study. But the rage of travelling is a symptom of a deeper unsoundness affecting the whole intellectual action. No man yet knows what it is. I seek the Vatican. none but his Maker can teach him. and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also. or Dante. he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted. and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind? Our houses are built with foreign taste. and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. our tastes. the sad self. our faculties. and grows old even in youth among old things. and our system of education fosters restlessness. Travelling is a fool's paradise. and quaint expression are as near to us as to any. and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. or does not go abroad with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he knows. I can be intoxicated with beauty. and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him. deign to repeat itself. Insist on yourself. He carries ruins to ruins. My giant goes with me wherever I go. you have only an extemporaneous. surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice. or to get somewhat which he does not carry. In Thebes. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias. at Rome. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation. our opinions. our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments. or the pen of Moses. nor can. so that the man is first domesticated. with thousand-cloven tongue. Not possibly will the soul all rich. unrelenting. but of the adopted talent of another. in Palmyra. the soil. the habit and form of the government.goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue. that I fled from. or Bacon. but I am not intoxicated. It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. never imitate. identical.

art. and carriages. the equinox he knows as little. "without abolishing our arms. but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. We reckoned the improvements of the art of war among the triumphs of science. but this change is not amelioration. grind it in his hand-mill. If the traveller tell us truly. a mat. The civilized man has built a coach. so does our spirit of society. commissaries. a spear. the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. and do not invigorate men. Socrates. No greater men are now than ever were. A singular equality may be observed between the great men of the first and of the last ages. The harm of the improved machinery may compensate its good. which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. whether we have not lost by refinement some energy. For every thing that is given. The solstice he does not observe. Hudson and Behring accomplished so much in their fishing-boats. it is scientific. and the same blow shall send the white to his grave. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name. and philosophy of the nineteenth century avail to educate greater men than Plutarch's heroes. with an opera-glass. it is christianized. but has lost the use of his feet. says Las Casas. discovered a more splendid series of celestial phenomena than any one since. in imitation of the Roman custom. it is barbarous. magazines. which consisted of falling back on naked valor. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has. and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under! But compare the health of the two men. Diogenes. the soldier should receive his supply of corn. it is civilized. but they leave no class. The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume. and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch. a pencil. The Emperor held it impossible to make a perfect army. it is rich. For every Stoic was a Stoic. some vigor of wild virtue. and so being sure of the information when he wants it. religion. The great genius returns to essential man. Columbus found the New World in an undecked boat. Phocion. and. nor can all the science. Galileo. our Education. until. but in Christendom where is the Christian? There is no more deviation in the moral standard than in the standard of height or bulk. our Art look abroad. writing. Society acquires new arts. reading. his libraries overload his wit. and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. Not in time is the race progressive. something is taken. by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms. and no man improves. It undergoes continual changes. as to astonish Parry and Franklin. strike the savage with a broad axe. in his turn. and disencumbering it of all aids. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. but will be his own man. but lacks so much support of muscle. thinking American. He is supported on crutches. Anaxagoras.4. and loses old instincts. and you shall see that the white man has lost his aboriginal strength. three or four and twenty centuries ago. and bake his bread himself. the insurance-office increases the number of accidents. are great men. and the naked New Zealander. and yet Napoleon conquered Europe by the bivouac. Society never advances. His note-books impair his memory. He has a fine Geneva watch. whose property is a club. As our Religion. All men plume themselves on the improvement of society. It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery. What a contrast between the well-clad. and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber. the founder of a sect." . with a watch. and a bill of exchange in his pocket. whose equipment exhausted the resources of science and art.

including the reliance on governments which protect it. or bankruptcies. or revolutions. but by a method precisely the reverse. . But that which a man is does always by necessity acquire. and gain all. has no root in him. and what the man acquires is living property. But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property. or fire." Our dependence on these foreign goods leads us to our slavish respect for numbers. is the want of self-reliance. Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. thou only firm column must presently appear the upholder of all that surrounds thee. raises your spirits. or storm. and in the endless mutation. and stands alone. and their experience with them. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. The persons who make up a nation to-day. Is not a man better than a town? Ask nothing of men. So use all that is called Fortune. instantly rights himself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. O friends! will the God deign to enter and inhabit you. that they have come to esteem the religious. but perpetually renews itself wherever the man breathes. or crime. as her wheel rolls. The wave moves onward. "Thy lot or portion of life.Society is a wave. and with each new uproar of announcement. It is only as a man puts off all foreign support. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings. the chancellors of God. and deal with Cause and Effect. if he see that it is accidental. Do not believe it. and lose all. Especially he hates what he has. but the water of which it is composed does not. or mobs. A political victory. and vote and resolve in multitude. or some other favorable event. � came to him by inheritance. He who knows that power is inborn. Most men gamble with her. because no revolution or no robber takes it away. that I see him to be strong and to prevail. The delegation from Essex! The Democrats from New Hampshire! The Whigs of Maine! the young patriot feels himself stronger than before by a new thousand of eyes and arms. and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance." said the Caliph Ali. because they feel them to be assaults on property. stands in the erect position. Its unity is only phenomenal. They measure their esteem of each other by what each has. and you think good days are preparing for you. commands his limbs. and they deprecate assaults on these. and so perceiving. and merely lies there. and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations. out of new respect for his nature. the greater the concourse. that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere. and civil institutions as guards of property. works miracles. "is seeking after thee. He is weaker by every recruit to his banner. The political parties meet in numerous conventions. just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head. the recovery of your sick. or gift. it does not belong to him. next year die. then he feels that it is not having. a rise of rents. And so the reliance on Property. therefore be at rest from seeking after it. and not by what each is. In like manner the reformers summon conventions. throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought. learned. In the Will work and acquire. which does not wait the beck of rulers. Not so. or the return of your absent friend.

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