Ralph waldo emerson compensation essay summary

Or, a rich man can afford steak and lobster but finds it hard to digest while a poor man has a hearty appetite and good health. Or, someone else may have a large salary, but little time to spend with their family. Every defect in one manner is made up in another. Every suffering is rewarded; every sacrifice is made up; every debt is paid. The title of this article, then, means there is no exemption, no exception, or no escape from this law of life. We cannot have successes without failures or hardships without gains. For every gain, there is a loss.

We lose the wood to gain fire and heat. We lose the heat to cook the food. We lose the food to nourish our body, and so it goes. This law of nature is about balance, harmony, and equilibrium. It is similar to the Law of Conservation of Energy in science. Energy may neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energy remains constant. Another aspect of the Law of Compensation is we will reap what we sow.

So, it should come as no surprise that if I plant seeds of love, I will be loved, and if I plant acts of kindness, others will treat me kindly. But if all I sow is anger, all I reap will be hostility. When we practice the Golden Rule by treating our neighbors as we wish to be treated, we live in harmony with this principle and will reap its benefits. In the spiritual sense, it means both our actions and the consequences that flow from them. Those who believe in karma believe that their fate is governed by the choices they make.

The happiness they experience or the suffering they undergo is a result of how they use their free will.

Ralph waldo emerson art essay summary - WISR AM - Butler, PA

Yet another term used to describe the same thing is The Law of Action and Reaction. That is, for every force, there is a counter force. The greater we stretch a rubber band, the greater its snapback. The more I scowl at you, the angrier you will become; the more you smile at me, the more pleased I will become. We could also express this idea by calling it the Law of Cause and Effect, or just by saying that virtue is its own reward and wrongdoing causes suffering.

Key Points:

The Law of Compensation, or sowing what we reap, is not about God punishing the wicked and rewarding the holy, but simply His law of natural consequences. So, it is wise to become familiar with the laws of nature to avoid unnecessary pain and unhappiness. Once we understand for every gain there is a loss, we can free ourselves from envy and live contentedly. Blessed are the contented, for they are never poor.

Woe unto the discontented, for they are never rich. Blessed is she who has little and wants less, for she is richer than he who has much and wants more. The language of the essays is sufficiently poetical that Thoreau felt compelled to say critically of the essays—"they were not written exactly at the right crisis [to be poetry] though inconceivably near it.

In the wide-ranging style of his essays, he returns to the subject of nature, suggesting that nature is itself a repetition of a very few laws, and thus implying that history repeats itself consistently with a few recognizable situations. Like the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard , Emerson disavowed nineteenth century notions of progress, arguing in the next essay of the book, "Society never advances. For everything that is given, something is taken.

The emphasis on the unity of experience is the same: "what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men. No less a friend of Emerson's than Herman Melville parodied excessive faith in the individual through the portrait of Captain Ahab in his classic American novel, Moby-Dick. Nevertheless, Emerson argued that if our promptings are bad they come from our inmost being. If we are made thus we have little choice in any case but to be what we are.

Translating this precept into the social realm, Emerson famously declares, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist"—a point of view developed at length in both the life and work of Thoreau. Equally memorable and influential on Walt Whitman is Emerson's idea that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. This philosophy of art has its premise in the Transcendental notion that the power of nature operates through all being, that it is being: "For we are not pans and barrows.

Emerson's aesthetics stress not the object of art but the force that creates the art object, or as he characterizes this process in relation to poetry: "it is not metres, but a metre-making argument that makes a poem. While Emerson does not accept in principle social progress as such, his philosophy emphasizes the progress of spirit, particularly when understood as development. This process he allies with the process of art: "Nature has a higher end. It is also an essay written out of the devastating grief that struck the Emerson household after the death of their five-year-old son, Waldo.

He wrote, whether out of conviction or helplessness, "I grieve that grief can teach me nothing.


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Each portrait balances the particular feature of the representative man that illustrates the general laws inhabiting humanity along with an assessment of the great man's shortcomings. Like Nietzsche, Emerson did not believe that great men were ends in themselves but served particular functions, notably for Emerson their capacity to "clear our eyes of egotism, and enable us to see other people in their works.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

While Plato receives credit for establishing the "cardinal facts. Unity, or Identity; and, 2. Variety," Emerson concedes that through Plato we have had no success in "explaining existence. But although he approves of the religion Swedenborg urged, a spirituality of each and every moment, Emerson complains the mystic lacks the "liberality of universal wisdom. The English poet possessed the rare capacity of greatness in that he allowed the spirit of his age to achieve representation through him.


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  5. Nevertheless the world waits on "a poet-priest" who can see, speak, and act, with equal inspiration. In The Conduct of Life , Emerson describes "concentration," or bringing to bear all of one's powers on a single object, as the "chief prudence. Yet, "the lawgiver of art is not an artist," and repeating a call for an original relation to the infinite, foregoing even the venerable authority of Goethe, Emerson concludes, "We too must write Bibles.

    English Traits was published in but represented almost a decade of reflections on an invited lecture tour Emerson made in to Great Britain. English Traits presents an unusually conservative set of perspectives on a rather limited subject, that of a single nation and "race," in place of human civilization and humanity as a whole. English Traits contains an advanced understanding of race, namely, that the differences among the members of a race are greater than the differences between races, but in general introduces few new ideas.

    The work is highly "occasional," shaped by his travels and visits, and bore evidence of what seemed to be an erosion of energy and originality in his thought. The Conduct of Life , however, proved to be a work of startling vigor and insight and is Emerson's last important work published in his lifetime. Some of Emerson's finest poetry can be found in his essays. He refines and redefines his conception of history as the interaction between "Nature and thought. Varying a biblical proverb to his own thought, Emerson argues that what we seek we will find because it is our fate to seek what is our own.

    On the subject of politics, Emerson consistently posited a faith in balance, the tendencies toward chaos and order, change and conservation always correcting each other. In his early work, Emerson emphasized the operation of nature through the individual man. The Conduct of Life uncovers the same consideration only now understood in terms of work or vocation. Emerson argued with increasing regularity throughout his career that each man is made for some work, and to ally himself with that is to render himself immune from harm: "the conviction that his work is dear to God and cannot be spared, defends him.

    In "Wealth" we find the balanced perspective, one might say contradiction, to be found in all the late work. Man is at the center, and the center will hold: "There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe. Emerson remains the major American philosopher of the nineteenth century and in some respects the central figure of American thought since the colonial period. Perhaps due to his highly quotable style, Emerson wields a celebrity unknown to subsequent American philosophers.

    The general reading public knows Emerson's work primarily through his aphorisms, which appear throughout popular culture on calendars and poster, on boxes of tea and breath mints, and of course through his individual essays. Generations of readers continue to encounter the more famous essays under the rubric of "literature" as well as philosophy, and indeed the essays, less so his poetry, stand undiminished as major works in the American literary tradition.

    Emerson's emphasis on self-reliance and nonconformity, his championing of an authentic American literature, his insistence on each individual's original relation to God, and finally his relentless optimism, that "life is a boundless privilege," remain his chief legacies. Vince Brewton Email: vjbrewton una. Ralph Waldo Emerson — In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and an advocate of social reforms who was nevertheless suspicious of reform and reformers. Major Works As a philosopher, Emerson primarily makes use of two forms, the essay and the public address or lecture.

    Legacy Emerson remains the major American philosopher of the nineteenth century and in some respects the central figure of American thought since the colonial period. References and Further Reading Baker, Carlos.