Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Choice Between Truth and Repose"

(Courtesy of The Happy Feminist)

Every human being has a choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, you cannot have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates. He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets-- most likely his father's. He gets rest, commodity, and reputation; but he shuts the door on truth. He in whom a love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism and recognize all the opposite negations between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion but he is a candidate for truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of being.

---Ralph Waldo Emerson


Susannity said...

I've just started reading more of Emerson's stuff lately. I had read very little in my past and was turned back onto his writings recently. He really was an astute individual.

Michael Benton said...

Very dense writings, but worth the struggle!

I just taught "The American Scholar" to my students.