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This confusion affects our perception of our place in relation to nature, and of our powers.
The balanced individual who accepts life will extract what can be enjoyed from it.
A man may thrive anywhere, under the "oldest mouldiest conventions" as well as in "the newest world." Emerson advises living to the best of our abilities in the present moment, "accepting our actual companions and circumstances," approaching each day as "a sound and solid good," and making the best of what life brings, the bad as well as the good.
He writes of dream and illusion, and of how we see only what we are capable of seeing.
Genius is useless if receptivity is limited by some temperamental trait that prevents "a focal distance within the actual horizon of human life." A man's talents cannot be effectively applied if he does not care sufficiently for higher truth to look for it, if he is overly sensitive, if he wants to reform but is not equal to the task.
The distance created by time's passage sometimes reveals that what we thought were unoccupied hours were actually our most fruitful periods.
In His Essays And Lectures Ralph Waldo Emerson Chinese Painting Essays
Only in the long view do we understand the proper value of everyday occupations and actions.Essays: Second Series, including "Experience," was issued in 1876 as the third volume of the Little Classic Edition of Emerson's writings, in 1886 as the third volume of the Riverside Edition, in 1906 as the third volume of the Centenary Edition, and in 1983 as the third volume of the Collected Works published by Harvard.The essay has been separately published, and also included in such collected editions as the 1940 Modern Library The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (edited by Brooks Atkinson), the 1965 Signet Classic Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (edited by William H.Emerson's essay "Experience" was first published without having been delivered as a lecture.It appeared in 1844 in his Essays: Second Series (published in Boston by James Munroe in October of 1844 and in London by John Chapman in November of 1844).Constant criticism of various institutions and courses of action has led to widespread indifference.Emerson urges the reader to tend to his own life as it is.Power (used by Emerson to signify a kind of divinely imparted life force) speaks alternately through various examples of humanity but does not remain permanently in any one of them.Emerson emphasizes that philosophical awareness of the shortcomings of human experience does not constitute life itself. Thought and writings on social reform are not successfully translated into the ends toward which they aim.We must look at the weak as well as the admirable examples, because God underlies all of them.Each individual has his own educational value, as do all aspects of human experience in society — commerce, government, the church, marriage, and the various occupations.