(Boston, 1803-Concord, 1882) Poeta y filósofo estadounidense. Maestro por Harvard y pastor unitario (1829), renunció al sacerdocio en 1832, tras perder a su esposa, aunque conservó el espíritu de su secta, que negaba la Trinidad. En Europa conoció a Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth y Thomas Carlyle y se inició en el idealismo alemán. Bajo el influjo de Carlyle, defendió la teoría trascendentalista, que sostiene que la esencia de las cosas se logra mediante un proceso de contemplación, intuición y éxtasis.

Establecido en Concord (1834), Ralph Waldo Emerson se casó de nuevo y publicó sus conferencias sobre la Naturaleza (1836) y su alocución sobre el American scholar (1837), donde su misticismo poético se presenta como trascendentalismo. En la revista oficial del movimiento homónimo, The Dial, publicó entre 1840 y 1844 diversos poemas; dictó las lecciones sobre los Reformadores de Nueva Inglaterra y en 1847 reunió varios discípulos (Nathaniel Hawthorne y George Ripley, fundador de la comunidad de Brook Farm).

De nuevo en Europa, sus charlas integrarían Hombres representativos (1850), sobre personajes que tipifican los principales modos de personalidad; del viaje surgiría también Inglaterra y el carácter inglés (1856). Es también el autor de Ensayos (1841-1844), Método de la naturaleza y el hombre reformado (1844), Conducta de vida (1860) y de Sociedad y soledad (1870).

Phrases

-The 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.

-Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.

-Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.

-He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

-There is properly no history; only biography.

-Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.

-In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.

-Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

-There never was a child so lovely, but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge.

-Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.

-Valor consists in the power of self recovery.

-Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.

-Our strength grows out of our weakness.

-Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works by short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls.

-When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.

-Conservatism stands on man’s confessed limitations; reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circumstance; liberalism on power; one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame; the other to postpone all things to the man himself; conservatism is debonair and social; reform is individual and imperious.

-The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant.

-A nation never falls but by suicide.

-Alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine are weak dilutions. The surest poison is time.

-What a new face courage puts on everything!

-That what we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us.

-To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Your goodness must have some edge to it — else it is none.

-The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.

-Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.

-No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-God enters by a private door into every individual.

-When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

-Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.

-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.

-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.

-What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

-Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

-If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

-The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

-Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.

-A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.

-I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

-Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

-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.

-Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

-The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.

-Children are all foreigners.

-Poetry teaches the enormous force of a few words, and, in proportion to the inspiration, checks loquacity.

-Skill to do comes of doing.

-It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

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

-Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

-He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

-A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.

-We walk alone in the world. Friends, such as we desire, are dreams and fables.

-We judge of man’s wisdom by his hope.

-Great men exist that there may be greater men.

-Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.

-Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.

-Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.

-Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds.

-Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; Unbelief, in denying them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence.

-What am I? And what is? Asks the human spirit with a curiosity new-kindled, but never to be quenched.

-The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.

-What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.

-Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.

-The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.

-Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.

-Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.

-Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.

-The only way to have a friend is to be one.

-The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
Conduct of Life: A Philosophical Reading

-Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.

-Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

-We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works.

-The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.

-Heroism feels and never reasons and therefore is always right.

-For every grain of wit there is a grain of folly.

-Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.

-Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre.

-The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend.

-You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God; you shall not have both.

-Life is our dictionary.

-Trust instinct to the end, even though you can give no reason.

-In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.

-I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.

-A great man is always willing to be little.

-Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.

-Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.

-It is a happy talent to know how to play.

-Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.

-The less government we have, the better — the fewer laws, and the less confided power.

-When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart.

-Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence, no husbandry.

-Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.

-With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.

-God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.

-It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

-Life consists of what man is thinking about all day.

-I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.

-The reward of a thing well done is having done it.

-The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.

-For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

-When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.

-To be great is to be misunderstood.

-This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.

-I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

-We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of four or five hundred pages.

-Men are what their mothers made them.

-The man who can make hard things easy is the educator.

-The college, which should be a place of delightful labour, is made odious and unhealthy, and the young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits.

-Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed. When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work but the solidest things we know.

-We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.

-Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.

-There is one other reason for dressing well, namely that dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes.

-Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

-As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

-And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

-A moment is a concentrated eternity.

-Grow angry slowly – there’s plenty of time.

-To fill the hour – that is happiness.

-People wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

-The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.

-He needs no library, for he has not done thinking; no church, for he is himself a prophet; no statute book, for he hath the Lawgiver; no money, for he is value itself; no road, for he is at home where he is.

-The soul active sees absolute truth; and utters truth, or creates.

-Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual.

-This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

-The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true.

-Life is a progress, and not a station.

-Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of chance.

-The artist always has the masters in his eyes.

-In order for one to learn the important lessons of life, one must first overcome a fear each day.

-Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.

-Life is 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, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.

-There are books which rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences.

-The ancestor of every action is a thought.

-To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

-If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

-Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

-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.

-Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.

-That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.

-Stay at home in your mind. Don’t recite other people’s opinions.

-Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.

-Thought is all light, and publishes itself to the universe. It will speak, though you were dumb, by its own miraculous organ. It will flow out of your actions, your manners, and your face. It will bring you friendships. It will impledge you to truth by the love and expectation of generous minds.

-What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.

-So is cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more remains.

-Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

-Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.

-We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.

-Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection.

-Nature hates monopolies and exceptions.

-It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, — “always do what you are afraid to do”.

-We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.

-Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.

-Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not.

-The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.

-Traveling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.

-Do the thing and you will have the power.

-Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.

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