Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Sleep takes off the costume of circumstance, arms us with terrible freedom, so that every will rushes to a deed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Demonology," Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883, repr. 1904).
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That which we call sin in others, is experiment for us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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In certain men digestion and sex absorb the vital force, and the stronger these are, the individual is so much weaker. The more of these drones perish, the better for the hive.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Fate," The Conduct of Life (1860).
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In the learned journal, in the influential newspaper, I discern no form; only some irresponsible shadow; oftener some monied corporation, or some dangler, who hopes, in the mask and robes of his paragraph, to pass for somebody. But through every clause and part of speech of the right book I meet the eyes of the most determined men; his force and terror inundate every word: the commas and dashes are alive; so that the writing is athletic and nimble,—can go far and live long.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Goethe; or, the Writer," Representative Men (1850).
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Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind, and when the same thought occurs in another man, it is the key to that era.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
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Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, of the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Speech, July 24, 1838, at Dartmouth College. "Literary Ethics," Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (1849).
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Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Montaigne; or, the Skeptic," Representative Men (1850).
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The visible heavens and earth sympathize with Jesus.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Nature, ch. 3 (1836, revised and repr. 1849).
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My companion assumes to know my mood and habit of thought, and we go on from explanation to explanation, until all is said that words can, and we leave matters just as they were at first, because of that vicious assumption.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Nominalist and Realist," Essays, Second Series (1844). With his emphasis on the boundaries of explanation and the limits of language, Emerson strikes a distinctly Wittgensteinian tone here.
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We live in a very low state of the world, and pay unwilling tribute to government founded on force. There is not, among the most religious and instructed men of the most religious and civil nations, a reliance on the moral sentiment, and a sufficient belief in the unity of things to persuade them that society can be maintained without artificial restraints, as well as the solar system; or that the private citizen might be reasonable, and a good neighbor, without the hint of a jail or a confiscation.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Politics," Essays, Second Series (1844).
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