Thursday, December 31, 2009

Silent Volcano

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. If you maintain a dead church, contribute to a dead bible-society, vote with a great party either for the government or against it, spread your table like base housekeepers─ under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are. And, of course, so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. But do your work and I shall know you. Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay, Self-Reliance brings us a step closer to understanding why we create the contrast we experience. We want to conform to reduce the separation we feel within the self. We want to hear someone tell us we are right, when we believe we are. We want to be a part of a group that expresses our beliefs because fear keeps our individuality under house arrest. We can hide within a group and be like everyone else. We have a cause, a purpose, a truth and we no longer feel separated from the self. We want to feel the energy of unified connection. We give our energy to others in order to sense our self worth, but we find layers of worthless self righteousness within the corridors of conformity. We convince the self to believe in conformity, and we create a reality around this duplicity in order to empower the ego self,

Separation of self is the silent volcano that constantly rumbles through our experiences. Emerson explains the folly of separation and the resourcefulness of those who vibrate with it.

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