Putting aside all the earlier years of my reading life, in the past five years alone I've returned to Emerson's seminal essay "Self Reliance" at least ten times. Two of the Learning Company's Great Courses series I regularly listen to while driving feature it; not long ago it was the selection for a "classics" book club I attend; an anthology of Emerson's essays, lectures and poems is within reach of the laptop I'm using this moment. I doubt that I'll ever stop learning and re-learning from "Self Reliance". What became clearer for you the last time you read it?
"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."
How can anyone who fully internalizes that notion not be lifted? How many times have you caught yourself stumbling onto an insight that struck you as profound? How likely would you be to share it with others? Do you wonder - as I frequently do - if the insight is really your own? If you decide that you heard or read it elsewhere, what are you saying to yourself? And, how much does the world miss when that "alienated majesty" is not shared?
It's no exaggeration saying "Self Reliance" represents a lifetime journey, one sentence at a time. If any of you join me on the trip, please share your alienated majesty with me.