Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Man is his own
Polaris
star pointing
northward
compass
guiding himself
towards
that which is
meant to
be
for he
is
his
own Destiny
if he will
only let
himself
be known
to himself

Rock-lands
she-wolves
winters past
hawks
foxes
and powerful
hands
let all stand
at the feet
of the Man
willing
to be a true
Man
with self-integrity
capable
of anything
worthy
of imagining

 

I read the
other day
the verses
of a brilliant
artist
a painter
actually
and I loved
it so
for he spoke
the truth
of his soul
which in
reality
is the Truth
Universal
of all men
who listen
to the flashes
of light
i.e. intuition
which passes
in front of their
minds
issue-ing
forth from
their hearts
when they
are willing
to listen

Moses
Plato
Milton
their value
to us is
the fact
that they listened
to themselves
that’s why
we attach
ourselves
to them
their books
poems
dialogues
and traditions
philosophies
religions
it is because
they spoke
with Integrity
as real Men
not what other
people
already said
or were
saying
but
that which
came into
their minds
and hearts
as true belief

Do not let
the images
flash before
your mind
while you stand
still write
them down
preserve
them in artistry
Creation
and then you will
have it as a lesson
issued
forth from
your Self
rather than hearing
it in the form
of someone
else
who took the
time to capture
it
while
you were
off doing
something else

 

Education
is none other
than the realization
that we must
trust
ourselves
that we must
learn to be
self-reliant
not dependent
on other’s
thoughts
ideologies
and beliefs
but to make
our own world
our own nests
based
on
that which
comes into
our breasts

We have been
given this land
to plot
to toil on
from God
and so
we should
push the cart
we should
dig in the earth
and let things
grow
Organic
to put our
heart into
everything
we do
so at the end
of the day
we can
say
that what
we did
was Good

To half-ass
that which
passes
through your
body
to allow
your being
to be repressed
by conventionality
to listen
to the instruments
of institutions
rather than
your own daeimon
is
to
have given
up yourself
for the sake
of someone
else’s wealth
and power-scheme
believe in yourself!
or
you
will have no peace

 

Trust thyself
and to thyself
be true
pluck on your
own heart strings
to create beautiful
harpistry
and the angels
will be
your audience
and muse

Realize you are here
for a reason
in this particular
place
in time
do the most you can
with what you are
given
with your hands
and mind
working always
for the sake
of the Light
to protect
yourself
and others
from Chaos
Darkness
and plight

 

What miraculous
signs
are embedded
in Nature
if you will only
look and listen
see in the faces
of children
in gentlemen
in women
even in brutes
the way the
world really works

Even if it goes
against your own
premature
computational
arithmetical
predictions
be prepared
to put down
your prior
artificial-convictions
for the sake
of truly realizing
the meaning
of World
in full Being
right
in front of your
face
hard as stone
soft as water
witness the
harmony
of it All

Young and Old
each are different
prisms
to understand
the wisdom
of life-scape
make the most
of each stage
and phase
in the evolution
of your personhood
through
time and space

 

Our greatest
nature is as a child
as a Boy
running
around playfully
doing what we
please
reckless
irresponsible
with purity in our
hearts
loving life
Adults court us
they seek
to keep us in line
but we know
not of consequences
merely of the Sublime
common senselessness
of purposeless
purposeful just-do

Woe to the man
locked in his prisons
of conventionality
having to keep private
thoughts to himself
unable to speak
as he really would
seem
to be
for society tells him
when where
and how to be
what it wants him
to be in this and
that moment
for this or that
reason
if only he could
return as much
as possible
to his original
childhood
innocence
perhaps
again he would
feel the freedom
of being a Real Man

 

Society cares
not for us
as individuals
it seeks to have
us conform
to what it holds
as most Sacred
the making
of money-bread
but tell me
do you want
to eat at a table
which doesn’t
recognize
the You
as Able
to co-exist
with some
sense of Integrity?

I tell thee
develop your
sense of True
Self-Reliance
so you can
be a Real Man
not just
a Machine

 

Whoso
should be a real
Man must
be non-conformity
embodied
he must rebel
against Society’s
generic
diluted standards
of self
he must be an immortal
God
a Cause
of his own
for himself
to develop like
a flower
with its own genetic power
leading to higher
and higher evolutions
of fruition

The sacred
in the world
is your own mind-scape
do not be fooled
by the picture
painted
by ambassadors
and lawyers
and politicians
and money-makers
they want you to
forsake
yourself
for the sake
of their common wealth

I once
talked to a priest
about my desire
to follow my inner-me
and he said
how do you know
if the inner-You
is devil or angel
coming through?
My response
to him then and now
is that I will trust
in myself
anyhow
whether you say
its angelic
or demonic
either way I’d
rather be my own
Man
then be
societally-catatonic

I must follow
my own constitution
I must follow
my own laws
for names like
Good and Bad
Right and Wrong
are applied
to all sorts
of arbitrary
man-made
creations
and deliberations
but if it doesn’t
speak to my
soul
then I will not
hold it as holy
anymore
than the lincoln
logs
you use
to build
your cabin
or the wood
chosen
to make a canoe
for lapping
about lakes
napping
fishing
or whatever
you do

Do not
bow down
to badges
of supposed
superiority
all that means
is they’ve
accomplished
something
according
to what someone
else deems
to be valuable
but if it isn’t
much to you
then believe
that it doesn’t
mean
much for your
soul
Police Officer
Noble Prize
Winner
whatever it may
be
make sure
it abides
with your own
consistency
and integrity
before paying
homage
to it
as that which
is Truly Worthy

And though
we all love
the push and pull
of being polite
let us hope
for more
honesty
even if its
rough around
the edges
so that we might
at least feel
a little bit
of Reality
bleed
through in our
conversation
and re-creational
comings
and goings-through

Let me know
for myself
what true hatred
is so that I can
point it
away from
my intended-direction
let me be propelled
by love
and surround
myself with other
Good Men
real Men
relying on themselves
no co-dependence
except for the
sake of cooperation
in this life of mutual
affection

 

Unfortunately
many men
do what is deemed
virtuous
but not what
is truly with
virtue
they work
apologetically
for Society’s missions
and for room
and board

Live your life
as if it really means
something!
not merely
to be a mere
spectacle
for other people
to view
with nods
of approval

Realize
the most important
privilege
is not to be the
privileged
elite
but rather
to give yourself
the ability
to be truly Free
to do as you
please
not
to conform
to the pleasing
aforementioned
sensations
stimulating
other’s
acquaintences

Seek not
the approval
of others
as a sign
you are doing
good
only seek
your internal
applause
in the form
of peace
calm
and silence
pure-thought
re-pose
suppositions
exposed
over-coming
woe
Loving your-self
casting
aside
false shows

 

How easy
it is to abide
by common belief
systems
how much
harder
to do what’s
actually meaningful
to you

 

Do you seek
to be greatness
embodied
or merely mediocrity
in false-smile
and hospitality?

Do not wear
around the mask
of falsity
be the honesty
you desire
to see in the world
you are the micro-cosm
which matters
the most
you are your own
greatest Lord
and Host

For there is
nothing more
disagreeable
than pretending
to be amenable
when really
you wish
you could
squeal
and reel
in disgust
of what
other pigs
do rolling
around in
their own
feces
and pizza
crusts