“We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams.”
For Emerson, self-reliance was more than the image of a family carving out a life on the frontier. Though he admired the do-it-yourself attitude and reveled in nature, Emerson’s frontier, the place of real freedom and opportunity, was a mental landscape free of mediocrity and conformity.
If we could not examine ourselves and identify our calling, we would be of little use. Lack of awareness would see us quickly molded into shape by a society that cared little for the beauty and freedom of the individual.
This is the path most of us take, happy to go along with society’s program in exchange for a level of status and reasonable material circumstances. Though we profess to break away from limitations, the reality is comfort in conformity.
Our primary duty is not ultimately to our family, to our job, to our country, but only that which calls us to do or to be. Too often “duty” hides a lack of responsibility in taking up a unique path. We can push aside a calling for some years, choosing obvious sources of money or satisfaction or a more comfortable situation, but it will eventually make its claims.
In a nutshellWhatever the pressures, be your own person.