Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Little Emerson Philosophy

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

That was the Thought for the Day in Yahoo and I love Emerson.  His is one of the few college books I still have and I am so glad I marked it to show what was impressive to me in the 50's.  I especially have a lot of marks and notations in his essay on "Compensation".  

For instance he says, "For every thing you have missed, you have gained something else; and for every thing you gain, you lose something.--There is always some leveling circumstances that puts down the overbearing, the strong, the rich, the fortunate, substantially on the same ground with all others."

He quotes St. Bernard, "Nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault."  And isn't that the truth.  I remember taking a correspondence course on how we "make our own depression".  It is so easy to feel sorry for yourself and make a good case for your misery.

 I have been thinking a lot about the last chapter from "The Husband's Secret" of how different directions, destinations, consequences, etc. are determined by our choices.  And yet some choices are made with a lot of thought and others we just drift into because we don't choose something else.

I remember so well the first week of my Disaster Duty when we were to choose whether we wanted to go out into the field or stay in and do the processing.  Not having experience in either one you did not know how to choose.  One of the leaders came over and tried to direct my choice by making the one sound more enticing that the other.  Of course, it was the one he was a leader over.  I later found out the experienced reserves much preferred the field and not what he suggested at all.  However, as Emerson inferred there was definitely leveling circumstances in both situations I found out when I experienced them both later on.

But back to the thought for the day.  How do you know what "yourself" is?  I have had to reinvent myself several times in order to do what had to be done to survive.  I was over and over again "out of my comfort zone" and different from what I considered "myself".

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