May 29, 2009


There is in every man a determination of character to a peculiar end, counteracted often by unfavorable fortune, but more apparent the more he is left at liberty. This is called his genius, or nature, or his turn of mind. The object of Education should be to remove all obstructions & let this natural force have free play & exhibit its peculiar product. It seems to be true that no man in this is deluded. This determination of his character is to something in nature; something real. This object is called his Idea. It is that which rules his most advised actions, those especially that are most his, & is most distinctly discerned by him in those days or moments when he derives the sincerest satisfaction from his life.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [from his journals, Dec. 27 1834], in EMERSON IN HIS JOURNALS, selected and edited by Joel Porte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) - London (England), 1982.