Continuing our discussion of “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity, yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.”
“…bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.”
Never mind the opinions of others about who they think that you are… what about your opinion of yourself?
I used to think that there was something really wrong with me – I was flaky as hell when it came to religions, philosophies, beliefs… I’d find something new, like Stoicism, or Buddhism, or Objectivism and run with it, dropping all of my previously held beliefs and become the servant of my new master.
The only thing “wrong” with that was in the becoming of the servant.
The continual exploration of new beliefs and ideas has made my life rich beyond measure.
Just because we believe “A” today doesn’t mean that we have to believe it tomorrow. And just because we believed “AB” yesterday doesn’t mean that we can’t drop the “B” today while holding onto the “A”.
“If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth, by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book VI