20 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes From The Past Echo Into Today.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 –1882) was an American writer and lecturer, who published dozens of essays and poems, and he also spoke at more than 1,500 public lectures.

Emerson led the transcendental movement in mid-19th century.  His writings and lectures were a major influence on his generation, which included the likes of other giants in American letters such as Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Emerson was an inspiration beyond the United States and past his era.  William James, Emerson’s godson said: “There is little disagreement that Emerson was the most influential writer of 19th-century America.
Emerson believed that the truth could be intuitively experienced directly from nature.  He was a champion of individualism and was a critic of the pressures society places on the individual.  Emerson’s philosophical outlook was much more flexible than his contemporaries, which allowed him to cultivate ideas on individual freedom that concluded that humanity was capable of almost anything.

Emerson was a staunch abolitionist long before the American Civil War and was a critic of Abraham Lincoln for not declaring emancipation of slaves when the war broke out.  In 1862, at the height of the Civil War, Lincoln met with Emerson.  Eleven months later Lincoln issued an executive order formally ending slavery in American, the now famous Emancipation Proclamation. Here are 20 quotes from one of America’s great philosophers.

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The creation of beauty is art.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Science does not know its debt to imagination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Author: Phil Zavackis


Phil Zavackis is a freelance writer living in Toronto. He has recently finished a screenplay titled ‘105 Degrees & Rising’, which is about the Fall of Saigon in 1975. https://www.quora.com/profile/Phil-Zavackis/blogs



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