Was Emerson right, or are we just Mean Girls?

Good evening Travelers,

Let’s just jump on this tiny caboose…(it goes on the end of a train, Google it if you’ve never seen one…)

The first time I met Emerson’s Self Reliance, I was 16 years old. It was high school English and my teacher was a slighter statured Wild Bill Hickok type with steely blue eyes. He seem to have a sixth sense when it came to students. I think he could either smell our fear or our lack of thought we had put into our reading assignment. Because this man wanted to teach us to read.

I don’t mean functionally, I mean READ. As in, what is the author saying here, beyond the words..what does it mean, what does it mean to you?

I look back and can see his method of teaching was an affirmation of his own self reliance. EVERY DAY. I’m certain he would have no idea how far I have carried him in my mind thru this life. Or how much he influenced me. If I may for this moment stand on my table and wherever you are Mr. Schultz, I say to you “Oh Captain, my Captain!”

If you have not read Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, go remedy that right now. Here is the link…YOU ARE WELCOME. What I am about to say will make more sense if you read that, and you should because learning is joyful!

Yes, I am serious…

Cue the relevent music…Are we basically good humans or are we just bitches? As in Mean Girls (yep, watch that movie as well)…Only our burn book, is Facebook, Twitter and the media in general. Technology has not only opened the door to unite us, it opened a door to divide and conquer us. While I am uncertain if the human race suddenly became meaner, the path of opportunity for negative self expression has never been easier to access.  And I’m not sure it’s individual expression but more of a symptomatic situation.  Mostly I just wonder, WHY ARE WE BEHAVING THIS WAY? And please, can we make it stop, please???

Let’s talk about self reliance and our animal selves that have been put in the corner by our society. Are humans innately individuals or do we instinctively prefer the homogenized mass we call society?

Emerson offers several ideas in his essay that speak to a truth that I fear we have lost sight of. The power of sorting out who you are. As in spending time on your own learning about your you-ness, no devices in hand. Thinking. There could be some silence involved.

Reminds me of a favorite quote, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” The peace we find inside ourselves is inherently more valuable then anything another person can offer, but how many of us are truly adept at self soothing?

Your animal self will also enjoy the silence. Trust me, try it. The homo sapien tag seems to be the thing we want to hide under the carpet of religion, politics, fancy clothes, cars and well anything we think makes us TOTALLY different then say any other animal, say a cat…but it’s still a part of us and that denial could also be a problem.

Have you endeavored to discover your talent in this life? Everyone is equal in being gifted with a skill. We just have to sort it out for ourselves, which is an entire negotiation unto itself. Most of us spend our lives trying to decipher it and then choosing if we want to embrace it. And the thing is, each of our journeys is different, you can seek guidance and experience by listening to others, but they are still not you.

And if each of us being unrepeatable magic is the whole point of this exercise called LIFE, why are we so uncomfortable with that fact? Is it our discomfort inside our own skin that’s causing us to lash out with hate and intolerance towards others? BUT no one wants to talk about that…doesn’t it follow that understanding yourself should help you understand others because as I said before, similar soul stuff in all humans…Emerson even says, All men have my blood and I have all mans…1841, this man had his sh*t together.

Back to our society…there is the question of the path of least resistance. Is it just easier to just fall into the mob then being yourself and getting comfortable with realizing not everyone will like you.  Do humans REALLY need approval from others, strangers, in order to be fulfilled or have we allowed ourselves to be ponzied into that belief? Would you have greater fulfillment from becoming self reliant or having 50 million followers on a given app or Facebook? Do we still recognize the difference?

The thing about self reliance/knowing oneself & believing in that, is it seems to create a sort of insulation for your soul. No one else’s faith in you is as powerful as your own. The hateful word vomit even seems to roll off better when you have self conviction. AND most people who are busy with their own lives don’t have time to insult others about theirs. Think about all the inventors like the Wright Brothers, Edison, Madame Curie, or Bill Gates and Steve Jobs multiple people probably told them they were outside of their minds, and did not like them, but yet they persevered. It could be self reliance. I have no scientific proof to back that claim, but I’d call it an educated guess. There seems to be a corrrelation between knowing who you are and getting to where you want to go, which is called success or happiness by most..if you are happier, kindness and compassion should be more likely to follow, right?




I’ve always thought of Mopsy as self reliant. Self sustaining. Her behavior seems to demonstrate an understanding that she is her own best chance in this world, survival or otherwise. She seems to know who she is and what’s what. I walked out one morning and saw her on our 6 foot fence, NO IDEA HOW IN THE F-WORD she got up there. Remember, no claws. BUT no concern, no worries on her face. Just taking a walk. She might be arboreal.

Try this on for a moment: Lay on your belly or on your back, on the floor and look around you. That’s her approximate eye level view. Put yourself out into a strange giant world, would you be comfortable relying only on yourself? Could you find peace? She found her way in strange lands to find friendly faces, resources and safety. I can’t imagine a cat succumbing to peer pressure, as they genuinely seem very much in the me at all times. She also radiates peace like a little sun.  Sometimes, I sit with her at night outside, on the patio and listen… not to human noises, but to the symphony of crickets and locusts, the rustling of the leaves, squirrels running about chattering and just be there, in the dark..this is where peace grows inside us, which leads to the joy, try it and see for yourself…


…Bon Voyage Travelers!

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