Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1803.
In October 1817, at age 14, Emerson went to Harvard College and was appointed freshman messenger for the president, requiring Emerson to fetch delinquent students and send messages to faculty.
Midway through his junior year, Emerson began keeping a list of books he had read and started a journal in a series of notebooks that would be called “Wide World“.
Ralph Waldo Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature“. Following this work, he gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered to be America’s “intellectual Declaration of Independence.
Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, never espousing fixed philosophical tenets, but developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for mankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world.
He remains among the linchpins of the American romantic movement, and his work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers, and poets that followed him.
Emerson’s religious views were often considered radical at the time.
He believed that all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine.
His views, the basis of Transcendentalism, suggested that God does not have to reveal the truth but that the truth could be intuitively experienced directly from nature. When asked his religious belief, Emerson stated:
“I am more of a Quaker than anything else. I believe in the ‘still, small voice,’ and that voice is Christ within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes:
1. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
2. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
3. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
4. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
5. “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
6. “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
7. “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
8. “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
9. “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”
10. “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”
11. “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”
12. “Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . . ”
13. “Love, and you shall be loved.”
14. “When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, your’re the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying.”