Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson: On Love, Beauty and the Purpose of Life

EmersonThe purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

We are always getting ready to live, but never living. What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

***

~Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

Excellence Reporter 2019

Advertisements

Categories: Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s