Monday, November 27, 2006

Emerson Aphorisms

Please cite the aphorism that struck you the most in Self Reliance. An aphorism is a short statment that expresses wise or clever observations about life. Please elaborate on its meaning and the overall significance and connection to you.


Blogger kellyw said...

“Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is.” I think that this quote is exactly what goes on in life today. People compare each other to other people. They compete to be the best and to have the most, so it will make them look better. But you can’t just judge a person off of what they have. You should judge someone off of who they are. Sure, a person may look good because of the things they have, but they may not be a good person. A person may have all the things in the world and usually you would think that person was happy, but really they may not be. Everyone thinks having everything will make you happy, but does it really? They will never reach happiness because they will always want more. People who don’t have everything find happiness through other things and I believe that is the way to live.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Kristie W said...

“It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.”

I believe that this aphorism is stating that people in general live in the past and through their memories, when they should live in the present. Now a days is seems that people tend to live through their past experiences and not realizing that they need to move on from the past and live in the “new day.” Instead people need to use their experiences only to learn from them and use them to make the present better. This refers to the statement “being the past for judgment into the thousand- eyed present.” (Thousand- eyed present referring to everyone in the world that is watching your every move.) All in all, people need to be live everyday like a new day and not live in their past. I have realized that in my life I sometimes live in my memories of good times; however, I know that I just need to learn from the memories and get something about of them in order to have a better present day.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Sam Tidwell said...

“Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is.” Personally, I do not believe this quote to be accurate because I do judge a man by what they are, not what they have. Possessions do not define a man or a human for that matter. Their character is what stands out, it’s what makes them who they are, without character you wouldn’t be anything. Sadly, I do see men judge and grade those around them by how much they have or how important they are. I think some people just can’t see below the skin because they don’t take the chance to look below their own skin to find out who they are. I think that comes into play with both men and women. People just tend to be selfish and envy those around them. This is definitely something I try not to do everyday.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...

"Society never advances...The civilized man had built a coach and lost the use of his feet". This quote is so true for todays society because we are inventing so many things. We make cars to make our lives 'easier' but we become dependant to it and forget that It is good to exercise (walking,running). We become lazy to the good foundations of our living pushing us ultimatly backwards. We have to be able to do the foundations of our living to be able to understand and move forward in the world today. But sadly we will always try to make life easier but with the sacrifice of loosing something else.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Jenn R said...

"They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisly what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another"

I like this aphorism because I think that in todays world we spend too much time doubting ourselves. We need to be more confident in what we do, and we need to be willng to take risks for what we believe in. Otherwise it will end up like Emerson said, our opinions will no longer come from us, they will be the opinions of others that we will be forced to accept.

12:46 PM  
Blogger TJ W said...

“Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is.” This is so true in todays society. I see awsome people who have a good heart that are not seen as "popular." Why are the vast majority of the so called "popular kids" jerks? It seems to me that it makes sense to surround yourself with the kids who are kind. Why would you want to hang hut with a jerk? Some people get by on life by what the have. If we were only focoused on who people were instead of what they have I think that you would see different faces in different places.

3:26 PM  
Blogger milenda nixon said...

"Just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head".
I really like this quote because to me, this reflects reality. For me it's basically saying that a person who works hard without bragging and having a big head will be more respected than someone who brags about what they have. I strongly agree with Sam Tidwell, he made such a great point about how people now a days look at what is on the outside rather than what is on the inside. But I also look at it as people who judge others when they may be judged as well. Its either by their looks, by their imperfections or by what they possess. But I think it is more important to judge people by their character than by things that they possess. A great philosopher once said"A man's worth does not consist in the abundance of the things which he/she possesses".

4:35 PM  
Blogger Nikki B. said...

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or for worse as his portion" I think this aphorism relates to the world we live in today, where people focus on material things and would rather fit in with the crowd than enjoy their own identity, and that the more we learn the less we know. Envy is pointless and imitation to whats "in" is suicide to individuality. Accepting yourself for better or for worse is being honest to who you are and the way to enjoy life. Comparing yourself to everyone else just wastes time and has no benefit.

4:57 PM  
Blogger TylerM4 said...

"The other terror that scares us from selftrust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loth to disappoint them."

This aphorism says that since we hate to disappoint others we do not trust ourselves to do or say what we want. And since others only can judge us from our past actions we are very careful that we do not step out of line and do or say the wrong thing. I follow this pattern most of the time when it comes to my actions, but when I want to say something I say it without thinking of repercussions. This most of the time turns out to be a curse which people think of me as a complete jerk. I am a very opinionated person and I voice my opinions too much sometimes.

5:49 PM  
Blogger jaimeL said...

"It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it..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"

This aphorism stood out the most to me because it defines a great person as one who not only listens to him/herself, or only listens to their peers, but can combine their ideas and opinions with others to create a solution even better than what they would have come up with. I found that this relates to life because throughout school and jobs there will usually be a person who thinks they know everything, however they will never know anything else because they are too busy being focused on only what they think.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Charlie H said...

"Men measure their esteem of eachother by what each has, and not by what each is."

This is so true, even for me and my friends. For example, I might not be as smart as one of my friends, but I have a car and they don't. To them they are jealous and would rather have the car then good grades. I HAVE a car, they ARE smart. That is how men measure eachother, not by who is the better person but by who has the better things or something like that. It is the same with pro athletes, who in my opinion have the biggest egos out of any man in the world and they also have more money than anyone. But because they have so much money and think so highly of themselves are they really good people, we don't know, but they don't care because they have money, and people know that, which makes people like them and want to be like them.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Lance S said...

"Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is."

In this day and age this quote is 100% true. However I don't get my esteem on what other people have. I look deeper and more into their inside. Their personality. Who cares if someone has something now. In the future that person may not have that thing anymore. But if you look deeply into a person and see what he/she is all about, then that is what is the most pure. That person will most likely never change how they are. So even if someone has all the things in the world, they may not be happy. The only thing that can make you happy is what lies in your heart.

8:16 PM  
Blogger katherine i said...

“The civilized man had built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle.” This wise quote means that throughout our lives technology, as well as the basic society, grows and makes things quite convenient. We have become what the 19th century would call lazy. We are inventing new and handy things that just make life way too easy. Perhaps we are forgetting the practicalities in life. I agree that our society ‘undergoes continual changes’, even though we seem to be moving ahead. RWE mentions that we have created a successful society but we take advantage of it. We don’t appreciate how simple our lives are.

8:27 PM  
Blogger DerrikO said...

"... and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best..."

I like this because i think it means that no one knows what you can do, including you, until you have gone out and proved you can do it. Also that when you put your heart into your work, you feel good about it. I think this quote can apply to anyone, if you try to can do things you didn't think you could, and after words you feel really good about it.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Madisson L said...

"For nonconformity the worlds whips you with its displeasure." Emerson wisely points out the animal instinct to pass judgment against differences. He says worlds as plural instead of a singular world because he was not speaking of the literal Earth. He was instead talking about the different societies existing today that are so selective in their beliefs, that in a sense they have distanced themselves into their own separate worlds. I appreciate that Emerson depicts the animosity of opposing social groups with the term 'whip’ because it truly makes me grasp the hatred of adversity that exists. I have witnessed this social outcasting take place in such environments from churches to the hallways in Arapahoe High School. It seems that both Emerson and I share the common thread that tolerance is a large issue in today's judgmental society.

9:54 PM  
Blogger tylee r. said...

"Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other."

That is so true if you think about it. Things become out of date just as quickly as we come up with newer better things. Our society strives to be better then the next person. If someone has the newest thing, the other person HAS to have it. I think it's ridiculous but we are all guilty of it. Hints the saying, "that was so five minutes ago." :]

9:55 PM  
Blogger kelcey ryan said...

"Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his." I thought that this was a good aphorism because it’s true to me personally. For example, when I am brainstorming either by myself or with a group of people I dismiss most of my thoughts because I am not confident in them. Yet if someone else were to have the same thought or a similar thought I would look at it from a completely different perspective. Another aphorism that I really liked was: "Infancy conforms to nobody; all conform to it..." this is a completely accurate observation. Anytime that there is a baby or even a puppy in the room most people talk to it in baby talk or cuddle it or play with it differently than one would expect an adult to act.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kari T said...

"Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is." I think this quote has a strong connection to the way life is now. We compare people to an unfair disadvantage, so that no one is ever good enough. We judge before knowing. It reminds me of the saying "don't judge a book by its cover". It also refers to possession, and how a person is based on what they have. We look for happiness in our material possessions. We judge others based on what they have. We want to believe that material possessions will make us happy and make it all better. But you can't find happiness through material possessions. It is through life and love that we find happiness.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Eddie W. said...

"Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is."

In our society today materialism is the biggest issue today. Its now what you need (such as knowledge or creativity to be bold and individualistic), its what you already have(materialistic or non materialistic).
Greed has taken over in our society and lifestyle. We as human beings always want more and can never get enough of it. But we are blinded by what we need to achieve that. KNOWLEDGE!! For me at least, I get a car based on what my grades are. Grades reflect my knowledge for the subject. As a result, if my grades are up to snuff, my parents will buy me a car.
Overall, what matters is now what you possess in your hand, but what you possess in your mind.

7:46 AM  
Blogger emilied said...

"we shall be forces to take with shame our own opinion from another." I think that this meant the most to me and strunk me because people are all about comformity and only doing what others do. It's hard for most people to have a voice of their own with out looking to others for guidance. People need to take confidence in their thoughts and not discard them because someone doesn't agree.

11:06 AM  
Blogger M Sajib said... is a literature website from Bangladesh. contains different kinds of literature writings, poem, novels and different kinds of important articles which is very much important to everyone. So, please visit to

7:10 PM  
Blogger M Sajib said... is a literature website from Bangladesh. contains different kinds of literature writings, poem, novels and different kinds of important articles which is very much important to everyone. So, please visit to

7:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home