Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803--April 27, 1882) was an American writer, poet, and philosopher who promoted free thought, individualism, and independence. He helped launch the transcendentalist movement in the 1800s, and believed in reincarnation. He was considered an extremist by many of his peers due to his unorthodox views on religion and social conventions.

Below we list some words of wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"We may be partial, but Fate is not."

“Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.

“Polarity, or action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light; in heat and cold; in the ebb and flow of waters; in male and female; in the inspiration and expiration of plants and animals; in the equation of quantity and quality in the fluids of the animal body; in the systole and diastole of the heart; in the undulations of fluids, and of sound; in the centrifugal and centripetal gravity; in electricity, galvanism, and chemical affinity. Super-induce magnetism at one end of a needle; the opposite magnetism takes place at the other end. If the south attracts, the north repels. To empty here, you must condense there. An inevitable dualism bisects nature, so that each thing is a half, and suggests another thing to make it whole; as, spirit, matter; man, woman; odd, even; subjective, objective; in, out; upper, under; motion, rest; yea, nay.”

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

“As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.”

“Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.”

“Good is positive. Evil is merely privative, not absolute: it is like cold, which is the privation of heat. All evil is so much death or nonentity. Benevolence is absolute and real. So much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he.”

“Good men must not obey the laws too well.”

“It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events, or of actors, that imports.”

“Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none.”

“We are wiser than we know.”

“We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse.”

“Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the 'Not Me,' that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, 'Nature.'”

“As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.”

“No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.”

“The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent.”

“Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.”

“The highest revelation is that God is in every man.”

“What you are comes to you.”

“Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.”

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