Continuing our discussion of “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic. In history, our imagination plays us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and estate, are a gaudier vocabulary than private John and Edward in a small house and common day’s work; but the things of life are the same to both; the sum total of both is the same. Why all this deference to Alfred, and Scanderbeg, and Gustavus? Suppose they were virtuous; did they wear out virtue? As great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and renowned steps. When private men shall act with original views, the lustre will be transferred from the actions of kings to those of gentlemen.”
Status. Doesn’t. Matter.
It’s our actions that matter. Public or private, with or without fanfare.
It’s our day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment collective actions that create the world we live in. The single actions of Donald Trump, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Bill Gates, or any other person with power may reach further than ours ever could. But our own actions, right here, right now, have more of an effect on the world we live in, right here, right now, than theirs ever could. Especially if the action we take is capitulation to their power.
Did anything in that passage resonate with you? Have an opinion you’d like to share? Feel free to drop your own thoughts in the comments.