Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Principle of Intellect


Intellect and reasoning mean, for the common person, the consideration of truths abstract. Considerations of time and place, of you and me, of profit and loss,they tyrannize the minds of most men. The intellect separates the fact under consideration, of you, from all local and personal reference, and perceives it as if it existed for its own good.

He who is immersed in what is about people or places cannot see the problem of existence. The intellect always ponders this. Nature shows that all things are

they formed and linked. The intellect pierces the form, surpasses the wall, detects the resemblance intrinsic among distant things and reduces all things to a few principles.

Making fact the subject of thought raises it.

Every man views his human condition with a degree of melancholy.

As a ship is destroyed by the waves, man, locked in mortal life, lies open to the mercy of sudden events. But a truth, separated by the intellect, is no longer a matter of destiny. We contemplate her as a god raised above care and fear. And so with any event in our life, or any record of our ideas or reflections, untangled from the web of our unconsciousness, they become an impersonal and immortal center.

What is directed at us for meditation does not threaten us, but makes us intellectual beings.

Our spontaneous action is always the best. You cannot with your best deliberation and attention to approach any question as close as your spontaneous gaze will bring it, while you get out of bed, or take a walk in the morning after pondering the matter before sleeping the night previous.

We have little control over our ideas. We are prisoners of ideas. They catch us for moments in his sky and they attract us so completely that we have no idea for tomorrow,staring in the same way as children, without an effort to make them ourselves.

Before long we lose that ecstasy, we meditate where we have been, what we have seen, and we repeat as honestly as we can what we have contemplated. As far as we can remember these ecstasies, we will carry their result in our indelible memory, and all men and all ages confirm it. We call it Truth.

But the moment we stop reporting it and We try to correct it and find it, it is no longer the truth.

What is the most difficult task in the whole world? Think. I put myself in the attitude to face directly an abstract truth, and I can’t.

It seems as if the law of the intellect resembled that law of nature by which we pray we inspire, sometimes we expire our breath, because the heart attracts and then expels the blood, – the law of undulation. Now you must work with your brain, and now you must refrain from activity and see what the great Soul demonstrates.

Each truth that an author acquires is a flashlight, which turns on the facts and ideas that lie in his mind, and behold, all the doormats and trash that had littered his attic they come back precious. Every trivial fact in your personal biography becomes an illustration of this new beginning, revisits the day, and fascinates all men with its spicy and new charm. The Men say “Where did you get this?” and they think there was something divine in their life. But no; they they have myriad facts just as good, they only need a lamp to loot their own attics.

We are all wise. The difference between people is not in wisdom but in art. Each mind has its own method. A real man never acquires rules after the college. What you have added in a natural way surprises and delights when it is produced. Because we cannot monitor each other’s secrecy. And therefore the differences among men their natural talents are insignificant in comparison with their common wealth.

Do you think that the doorman and the cook have no anecdote, no experience, no wonder for you? Everyone knows as much as the wise.

The walls of rude minds are scrawled everywhere with facts, with ideas. A day they will bring a flashlight and read the inscriptions. Every man, to the degree that he has wit andculture, finds its increased curiosity regarding the ways of life and thought of other men, and especially of those classes whose minds have not been dominated by exercise of school education.

The gift should always bring two gifts, the idea and the publication.

The constructive intellect produces ideas, sentences, poems, plans, designs, systems. They are the generation of the mind, the marriage of the idea with nature.

It is true that the discerning intellect of the world is always much better than the creative one, so there are many competent judges of the best book, and few authors of the best books.

The intellect is a whole and demands integrity in every job. This is equally resisted by the dedication for a single idea of ​​a man and for his ambition to combine too much.

Truth is our element of life, but if a man turns his attention to a single aspect of the truth and is engaged in it alone for a long time, the truth is distorted and returns lie; it looks like air, which is our natural element, and the breath from our windows nostrils, but if a torrent of it is directed on the body for a long time, it causes cold, fever, and even death.

Neither by disinterest nor as a whole is the integrity of the intellect transmitted to his works, but by a vigilance that leads the intellect to its greatness and its best state to operate at all times. It must have the same integrity that nature has.

The intellect must have similar perfection in its apprehension and in its works. For this reason, an index or mercury of intellectual competence is the perception of identity.

We are stung by the desire for new ideas; but when we receive a new idea it is only the old thought with a new face, and although we do it ourselves we crave another in an instant; we are not really rich. Because the truth was in us before we was reflected in natural objects; and the profound genius will invoke the likeness of all creatures in each product of his ingenuity.

Each man’s progress is through a succession of teachers, each of whom appears in the moment have a superlative influence, but in the end they give the position to a new one.

Who leaves everything, receives more. This is true both intellectually and morally. Every new mind to the one we are approaching seems to require an abdication of all our former belongings and current.

A new doctrine seems at first a subversion of all our opinions, tastes, and Way of life. Take all that they can give you gratefully and willingly. Tire them out, fight with them, do not let them go until you earn their blessing, and after a brief time the dismay will be overcome, the excess of influences will retract, and they will no longer be an alarming meteorite, but another bright star shining serenely in his sky and combining its light with that of his entire day.

God offers each mind a choice between truth and rest. Take the one you want – you you can never have both. Between these, like a pendulum, man swings.

He in whom the love of truth prevails will keep himself distant from all moorings, and will float. I know abstain from dogmatism, and recognize all negative opposites between which, as walls, his being is balanced. Access the disappointment of suspense and imperfect opinion, but it is a candidate for the truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being.

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