Ralph Waldo Emerson on how good humans can be.

When in a quandary about some subject I often find myself going back to the writings of Emerson, if for nothing else, just to remind myself how brilliant and fundamentally good a human can be. He was also a favorite of Ernest Holmes and Eric Butterwroth. Even though his original text can be a slough to get through, the breadth and depth of his intellectual wanderings are always a worthwhile place to root about. One of his observations was that:

 

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

 

What makes that so difficult for people to achieve…I wonder…sitting on my couch watching football, with a beer in hand, and chips on the table in reach…and losing yet another Sunday afternoon. One could hear Ralph Waldo saying:

 

“The purpose of life is not to spend it on time sucking activities, leaving little or no time for proper exercise, listening to the stories of children, old people, loved-ones and friends, or reading an uplifting book!”

 

How could the amazing essays, “Self-Reliance,”  “Compensation,” “Friendship,” all come out of one person? Each one only 15-20 pages, is a tome packed with wisdom, requiring deep concentration to take in, and much time to comprehend… to which hearing, he may have replied,

 

“What noise then, now fills the empty corridors of your gift?”- “What gift you say?” – “your mind,” he replies. “Think on what you fill it with, is all. Keep it open to see what is,” he suggests. “To what end” they ask. “Your own” he whispers.