Read essays first series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Online


THERE is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a partyTHERE is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent. Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it, in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world....

Title : essays first series
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ISBN : 8204273
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 169 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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essays first series Reviews

  • Nick Klagge
    2019-04-02 22:14

    Unfortunately, I barely pushed myself through this. I picked it up because it was in the "further reading" list in the back of "The Art of Stoic Joy," and of course Emerson is famous (and it's out of copyright==free). However, I really never clicked with it. I think there are two main reasons. First, I get frustrated with Emerson's mysticism--using metaphorical language and arguing by assertion, without any kind of clear logical structure for the most part. I feel like 90% of the assertions he makes could easily be argued the other way. I guess this type of approach really works if it resonates with you, but it failed for me. Second, and perhaps more to my own discredit, I found the language a little dense to keep up with. This is partly just the time of writing, partly his use of figurative language, and partly my disinterest in the material that kept me from focusing that well. Finally, I don't agree with his Romantic notion that the ideal state of being is a sort of unreflective authenticity, which he associates with adolescent boys. Sorry dude, I remember what that was like, and being a grown-up is better!I would say there are some vaguely Stoic themes in the book, such as the "Self-Reliance" them of making your own judgments and not being guided by custom or authority. And in a way, by deciding not to push myself through the second volume of this work, I'm following Emerson's advice exactly--in one of these essays, he urges the reader to put down an author if he or she doesn't speak to your inner truth, no matter how revered he or she may be by others. So, that's what I'm doing!

  • Illiterate
    2019-04-06 22:18

    Emerson might have written a powerful critique of conservative morality and organized religion if he’d overcome his belief in soul and God.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-24 22:15

    I highlighted every other page.

  • Mehvish
    2019-04-23 20:50

    "All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves." I am too tiny a creature to review this book. This book has restored me. Brilliant!

  • Michael
    2019-04-08 19:59

    There are aspects of Emerson that don't do it for me. He believes in Nature, with a big capital N. He's sure he's found it, he's sure it's good, and he's sure that Nature is himself. Sometimes his belief in Nature makes him a thoroughgoing democrat. Everyone, after all, is Natural by definition. But at other times he is as élitist as any other nineteenth-century intellectual. Perhaps we could all be Natural if we tried, but most people are slaves of convention, and there is little hope they'll ever be anything otherwise.I'm not so sure that Nature exists. Or that the self is Natural. If I say who I am, this is something I've learnt how to say using a particular language. What it means to be a person depends. Being child means something different in a country where 12 year-olds work down coal mines or fight in civil wars, to in a peaceful country with compulsory schooling and intricate child protection and negligence laws. Whatever is 'Natural' about childhood is also clearly capable of enormous change.But these objections are puny in the face of Emerson's famous rhetoric:The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray.Emerson's universe is charged with meaning, that flashes out everywhere like light from shook foil. It's often said that "Western Culture" is empiricist or materialist or instrumentalist. Emerson blasts that abstraction too.Bolts and bars are not the best of our institutions, nor is shrewdness in trade a mark of wisdom. Men suffer all their life long, under the foolish superstition that they can be cheated.Some people object to Emerson's habit of making no arguments, adducing no evidence, addressing no objections, and shooting off in whatever direction his rhetoric takes him. I can't object to any of these things. Emerson's metaphors are striking. His prose is musical. And his essays are absolutely full of ideas.

  • Iami Menotu
    2019-04-19 02:05

    Self Reliance is a motivational essay. All others are Complicated conventional wisdom

  • Doddie
    2019-04-19 01:54

    Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Acceptthe place the divine providence has found for you, the societyof your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great menhave always done so, and confided themselves childlike to thegenius of their age, betraying their perception that theabsolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, workingthrough their hands, predominating in all their being. Andwe are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the sametranscendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protectedcorner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides,redeemers and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort andadvancing on Chaos and the Dark.this kind of essay will keep you awake

  • Hanadi
    2019-04-16 18:53

    I've been reading this book for a year now - I've just finished it. However, every year, one changes. But there's always that year of great transformation in everyone's life.For me it was this year. And these essays were the "firing level"!I neither can review nor describe this book, but I can say that throughout my reading, I never felt I'm holding a book! It's just me and Emerson conversing out there! .. and it's just me sitting there speechless, with a beating heart. Yes, that's what beauty does to me; I fail to respond, I just feel it.And these essays, believe me, are an overwhelming, beautiful, timeless and breathtaking piece of art.

  • Demetrius Rogers
    2019-04-10 22:00

    Although I don't buy into Emerson's transcendental philosophy I will say he has some of the most salient quotes about being oneself. There are snatches of his "Self Reliance" essay that I will probably put to memory. And, wow, the way Emerson could turn a phrase, whewwwww, this man could write! But, I soon lost steam going through his writings (hence, the first series and not the second). They all began to sound much the same and had a rambling quality to them. If you've read one of his essays I would venture to say you've read them all. "Self Reliance" is the one to see and then next his essay on "Friendship."

  • Beth
    2019-04-24 01:09

    The actual book I am reading was published in 1934 and not coming up on GoodReads' search engine...however, I am slogging through this stuff...the first essay is titled "History" and is pretty intellectual and abstract. "Self-Reliance" is a little less obtuse, but it still is a snail's pace to creep through the text and absorb in context what reads al lot like free-association ramblings...nuggets of gold hidden in and about, but still rough going to get to the kernals of goodness...ugh.

  • Even
    2019-04-22 21:54

    Drivel. If you are into incoherent and contradictory stream of conciousness navel gazing you might be in luck. If you are looking for a quote mine for postcards at your patchouli and magic crystal store, by all means check this out. If you are looking for a well developed and articulated philosophical text, look elsewhere.

  • Scot
    2019-04-20 00:16

    This set contains one of Emerson's most famous essays, "Self-Reliance," which is honestly all I have read thus far. It is a not so gentle reminder that we have everything that we need within, and f*c# everything else. Brilliant... highly recommended for anyone that needs to remember.

  • Kirk
    2019-03-27 01:52

    “Self-Reliance”It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

  • Mina Soare
    2019-04-21 01:00

    After the first two, which were lyrical, elegant and beautiful, I found the idealism too hard to swallow for nonfiction.

  • Ellen
    2019-04-22 20:15

    A superb collection of essays on many topics. Includes "Self-Reliance", and other well-known essays by the Transcendentalist and thinker. Great reading.

  • torque
    2019-04-21 20:59

    A bit beyond me. Some of the subjects I agree with, others I don't and some I just don't understand.

  • Carol Spears
    2019-04-12 19:03

    Emerson's prose has a really poetry feel to it making it a great book to listen to. I "read" the last essay (Art) though for the same reason.

  • Brent Jefferson
    2019-04-23 02:12

    Beautiful exquisite plain truths on how to live. A manual for living to stand beside Marcus Aurelius's Meditations.

  • Caron
    2019-04-14 23:10

    I love Emerson, and this book contains some of the great early essays!