Self-Reliance and Other Virtues

His was one of the quintessential American voices of solitude and self-trust. In an era so plugged in and anxious for likes, Emerson’s championing of mental privacy seems more radical than ever. Here are some of his best sayings on life, nature, and the intellect.

No man is quite sane.

Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretended to settle anything as true or false. . . . No facts are to me sacred; none are profane.

Accuracy is essential to beauty, and quick perceptions to politeness, but not too quick perceptions.

All originality is relative. Every thinker is retrospective.

Life is a series of surprises.

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