Ralph Waldo Emerson.
He’s the great-great-grandfather in my spiritual family tree.
As you may know, we named our son Emerson after this great 19th century philosopher and when I imagine the heroes whose qualities I want to emulate, he’s on the top of the list—right alongside Epictetus and Joseph Campbell and Steve Jobs when I’m in a “make a dent in the universe” kinda mood. (More on that in this +1: .)
We already have a Note on his Selected Writings (which I created nearly 10 years ago) but I’ve read this particular essay so many times that, as I was reading it for the I-don’t-know-manyth time I figured we should create a Note on it. And, here we are.
If you’re looking to live heroically, learn how to trust yourSelf and move beyond the typical conformity of society, I think it’s a must read.
I could literally comment on the whole thing. But, alas, we’ll constrain ourselves to these six pages and a handful of my favorite Big Ideas!
btw: I’m creating this on January 4th, 2018. Almost exactly 10 years ago, on January 2nd, 2008 Alexandra and I were returning from a trip to India and Thailand via New Year’s Eve in Tokyo when I opened the SkyMall brochure to a 2-page ad for a company that creates summaries of business books “for busy executives.” I had the idea that someone should do the same thing for self-development books “for busy self-actualizers.” Then I had the thought that that someone should be me. And, PhilosophersNotes was born.
So, I find it particularly appropriate to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the birth of PhilosophersNotes with a reflection on Emerson’s transcendent wisdom.
With THAT, let’s jump straight in! :)