Words of wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson


Over the past year or so, I’ve been picking up a volume of Emerson’s writings when I can, looking for pearls of wisdom. And I think I found one today, when I came across the following words:

To the extent that a man thinks, he is free

I don’t see much independent thought in our society. People are often hired to spout out a company line about something–especially on television–and we are expected to nod our heads in approval, or at least keep quiet if we don’t agree.

It feels like those who speak their minds are not valued as much as they ought to be. A two-party political system will lead to binary thinking, I suppose. But suppressing other ideas and new ways of thinking isn’t healthy. It leads to tunnel vision, and an inability to change pre-conceived ideas, particularly when they weren’t organic to someone’s own thinking to begin with.

Thanks to you, Ralph Waldo, for pointing out that thinking equals freedom, and farming that job out to somebody else is a dangerous thing. He didn’t say it in quite that way, of course, but I brought my own freedom to his idea. See how easy that is?

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