Rushville Republican

Columns

June 10, 2014

This is what deep thoughts get you

I recently rediscovered the work of an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who was, without doubt, one of the most brilliant men of his, or any other time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803 and died in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1882 at the age of 78. He was a strong advocate of individualism who spread his thoughts through dozens of essays and more than 1,500 speeches across the country. His most famous essay, entitled “Nature,” was published in 1836 and was the foundation of the philosophy called Transcendentalism. Rather than leave you hanging, transcendentalism was a philosophical movement which taught that society and its institutions, especially organized religion and political parties, would lead to the corruption of the “purity of the individual.” Transcendentalists believed people are at their best when they are truly self-reliant and independent. “It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.”

Assuming the forgoing explanation helps a little, this week’s column is going to focus on some of Emerson’s most famous quotations. It is surprising how many of Emerson’s quotes have applicability today and how ahead of his time, if you will, he really was. That’s what thinking deep thoughts gets you, I imagine. Nevertheless, here are some famous quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of this country’s great thinkers. To give you an idea, this first one is, it seems to me, perfectly consistent with the notion of self-reliance. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the great accomplishment.”

On the subject of happiness, Emerson wrote, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

Here’s a brilliant quotation on the subject of regret. “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Text Only
Columns
  • There's something about Maryland My family unit has just returned from a death march – oops, make that, “vacation” – in Annapolis, Maryland. In spite of constant 96-degree temps (though it dropped as low as 95.7 at night), and the stifling humidity, we had lots of dolgurn fun. Mainl

    July 22, 2014

  • Learning to say goodbye From as far back as I can remember, saying hello has been a part of nearly each day.During my youth, it was used when I met new people my parents introduced me to and was frequently followed by a handshake. I couldn’t count the number of times I used

    July 18, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 15, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 15, 2014

  • Soothing '60's Surf Sounds I’m sitting in my home office enjoying a serenade of rhythmic pulsations emanating from the outside wall. It’s coming from our water spigot. No. 5 son (age 13) and his buddies are using it to fill water balloons. 1,500 water balloons to be exact. 1,5

    July 15, 2014

  • Soccer-stopping Storm a Lousy Treat What a great way to spend a Saturday morning in July: I’m sitting in my car with rain cascading on the roof, lightning skittering all over the sky, and thunder sockin’ it to the atmosphere with such force that I feel a rumbling in my bum.I’m staring

    July 8, 2014

  • Only in America - Top 10 As we move into the glorious months of summer, I thought you might be amused by reading the Top Ten List of what Canadians supposedly think of how things are going in this country. It’s a lot like David Letterman’s “top ten list.”Number 10: Only in A

    July 8, 2014

  • Government today is way too intrusive What ever happened to the America of my youth? That great country that was indeed the jewel of the common person of the world. The country where one could actually, through hard work and industry, make a good living and actually have the OPPORTUNITY

    July 8, 2014

  • Gone in the blink of an eye Over the holiday weekend I was able to enjoy three days, (somewhat) off work. Three day weekends are always a highlight for me and I am sure most of you will agree.I went fishing to wrap up my Sunday evening. While sitting in the old John boat castin

    July 8, 2014

  • Mum Mum If my grandmother were alive today, she would be 125, and she would still, no doubt, be walking around in her six-inch-high heels, the ones she asked to be buried in—and she’d have a Marlboro in her fingers. She demanded to be called Mum Mum because

    July 3, 2014