On Ambiguity: Ralph Waldo Emerson on Living with Abandon

Friday, March 28, 2014 - 5:59 am

On Ambiguity: Ralph Waldo Emerson on Living with Abandon

“The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful; it is by abandonment. The great moments of history are the facilities of performance through strength of ideas, as the works of genius and religion. ‘A man,’ said Oliver Cromwell, ‘never rises so high — as when he knows not whither he is going.'”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his essay “Circles”

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Mariah Helgeson

is a digital editor at On Being. She earned a degree in International Affairs with concentrations in the Middle East and Conflict Resolution from George Washington University. She grew up in Minnesota and was a program associate at the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. When she’s not submerged in a good book she might be found laughing with her teenage sisters or playing chamber music.

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