Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I happened to watch a sort of mundane movie on cable about a woman who is having difficulty finding her “Mr. Right”..a common modern theme. This one had a bit of insight in that a lot of the men seeking her attention ( and responding to a personal ad which her mother placed on her behalf in a Boston newspaper) were misquoting the above mentioned Emerson. They were leaving out the word  “foolish” in the following:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  But this is only part of the original quote which reads:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

It is a good day when a mediocre movie experience leads you back to the works of a great philosopher. I forgot how much I love this man and his writings. Thank you for the encounter of a startling mind.


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