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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

This page presents Emerson's aphorisms, and ours.

January 1Edit

Emerson: EmancipationEdit

To-day unbind the captive
So only are ye unbound
Lift up a people from the dust,
Trump of their rescue, sound!
Pay ransom to the owner
And fill the bag to the brim
Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
And ever was. Pay him.
"The Emancipation Proclamation: An Address Delivered in Boston in September, 1862"

Wareh: The debt to others, the debt to ourselvesEdit

Self-discovery and moral seriousness about the situation of others, two of the great themes of this course, may sometimes seem to be alternate focuses of our (and our authors’) commitments, two separate frontiers of wisdom. Yet they are perhaps inseparable. Unbind the captive to be unbound: our freedom and self-ownership may depend on the self-ownership and self-realization of the others with whom we live. Our own human horizons have something to do with others'. If this is a truth, it is easy enough to ignore. It is hard work to gain a perspective so wide that it combines the progress of others with everything we demand for the progress of ourselves. Do we have an ethics broad enough to encompass our complete self-realization as individuals? Are our identities deep enough if we wall ourselves off from the condition of our fellow-citizens (not just the ones we recognize as such, but the ones we should recognize)? Wareh 14:53, January 2, 2011 (UTC)


  • Emerson is speaking on the Emancipation Proclamation, and the editor of A Year With Emerson has put this down for January 1: they are both thinking of beginnings. Self-ownership is the beginning of our freedom in our own lives to be ourselves (“unbound”), and Emerson discomfits (or inspires?) us by insisting that our relationship to ourselves depends on the property rights of personhood in society as a whole. From the right point of view, we take inventory of what we have (from possessions to hopes) and realize that some of it could never have been gained without unjustly depriving others.The authors in this course were chosen because they are proclaiming or searching for some wisdom about our lives and our world: it will be interesting to ask about each one, how much of Emerson’s vast perspective they adopt (or are forced to adopt) on their way to their own creative syntheses. The most self-centered writer becomes concerned with the state of the larger society and culture (if only to damn them), while the ethical prophets draw their inspiration from ideals above and beyond narrowly ethical concerns. Wareh 14:53, January 2, 2011 (UTC)

January 4Edit

Emerson: HonorEdit

Honor is venerable to us because it is no ephemeris. It is always ancient virtue. We worship it today because it is not of to-day. We love and pay it homage, not because it is a trap for our love and homage, but is self-dependent, self-derived, and therefore of an old immaculate pedigree, even if shown in a young person.


Johnson: Ancient and Modern HonorEdit

In the January 4th entry, Emerson confronts the idea that "honor is venerable" and that "We worship it today because it is not of to-day". This made me wonder if Emerson knew his writing would become honorable by his own definition, as he is regarded today as a writer of "ancient virtue." Some writers of our time may possess the wisdom and insight of Emerson, but true credit will not likely be paid until long after their time here. Emerson's writing can be interpreted as stating that a person is honorable when they possess these ancient wisdoms, making the "old soul" the most aspired to. I found this interesting because David Foster Wallace talks frequently about the importance of effective "avant-garde" work, which is innovative and original. I personally believe in order to be honorable, or do honorable things, you must swallow what is honorable by Emerson's definition and process it completely. The highest honor, in that people of the future regard what you've done as "ancient virtue," you must digest honor of today and create something entirely new out of it. I believe there is a middle ground between Emerson's and David Foster Wallace's ideas of honor, and when combined, they truly define it. Kinzjohnson 17:23, January 5, 2011 (UTC)


  • I enjoyed how smoothly and effectively you were able to compare and relate Foster Wallace to Emerson. Agreed that true credit won't be paid "until long after [an author's] time here" but do you think many authors today actually believe that and write while thinking that?HQU 04:47, January 7, 2011 (UTC)

Sheehan:Honored AlwaysEdit

The topic of honor is very clear in this passage. Emerson voices his opinion of honor by discussing its timeless quality. In years to come, through all of life’s changes, honor will be just as valuable as decades ago. I agree with Emerson in believing that honor is everlasting. One who has a sense of honor is, and always will be, respected. The idea of honor is interesting because it applies “not (only) of to-day”, but indefinitely. This passage reminded me of the Greek word “kleos”, meaning honor, mentioned in the works of Homer. As you can see, honor has been recognized and admired since ancient times. I also suppose modern writers, such as David Foster Wallace, would commend honor. Wallace might relate honor to appreciating his written works. Although Wallace tries to run away from the praises of being a celebrity, I bet he would not mind being honored for all that he has accomplished. Honor will always be apparent in our lives: Honor is timeless. Sheehank 17:37, January 5, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really liked that you connected this quote not only to our other reading, but to the works of Homer as well. I also liked that you expanded a little bit on Emerson's idea of honour being everlasting. The only bit of criticism I would offer is that you skip around from "I" to "one" to "you," and it was a little distracting to me. E Waterman 22:23, January 6, 2011 (UTC)
  • I enjoyed how you connected the theme of honor to both Wallace and Emerson. I agree that while the context and definition of honor varies with each person, honor itself, is as you say, "timeless" and something that as you say, can in many cases, gain more momentum with age. I could not help but think that perhaps at least in Wallace's case, his premature death amplifies the honor associated with his work and if his work holds more significance knowing that he took his own life shortly after his last work was published. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DEDELMAN (talkcontribs)

Ziemba: Honoring the Past and Forging ConnectionsEdit

In this passage Emerson stresses the importance of honor in both the present and the past. Honor has endured the passage of time and remained a well-respected and often strived for character trait. It appears that honor serves as a symbol of solidarity in a world where cultures seem to have abandoned many past values for the easiest or simplest way to approach situations. By claiming that we "love and pay it homage," Emerson is unearthing the desire that human beings have always had to celebrate the accomplishments of others by honoring them in anyway possible. That is why we still carry on traditions such as Memorial Day services or even attend the concert of a small child. In my mind, honor should be paid no matter how big or small the accomplishment, because it is a piece of who the honoree is as a person. Human beings have the desire to share common beliefs with each other, especially their own ancestors, therefore the continuation of a tradition of honor is but the best of morals to share. Emerson refers to honor as "an old immaculate pedigree," one which all can wear with pride. KZiemba34 20:00, January 5, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really liked this passage a lot. I think you definitely took the Emerson passage and made it very current and relevant. Your examples of Memorial Day and the small child's concert were really great examples that everyone can relate to. My favourite line was the third line; I felt that it was very well-stated. Great job! E Waterman 22:23, January 6, 2011 (UTC)

January 6Edit

Emerson: AncestryEdit

It is my own humor to despise pedigree. I was educated to prize it. The kind Aunt whose cares instructed my youth (and whom may God reward), told me oft the virtues of her and mine ancestors. They have been clergymen for many generations, and the piety of all and the eloquence of many is yet praised in the Churches. But the dead sleep in their moonless night ; my business is with the living.

Emerson's journal, 1825 (age 21)

Gordon: Ironic, No?Edit

Emerson starts with irony which is a wonderful quality to have as a writer. For it is not ironic to us as the reader, but rather it is humorous to him and because he mentions this idea is becomes funny to us. It opens up the discussion of how it is ironic and he ends his passage with a statement as to why it has become ironic to him. Many writers do not take the time to explain ironies that only pertain to them mainly because they feel it would take too long or their readers would not understand it. This is not the case as proved by Emerson who clearly states "It is my own humor" then, with a few short sentences explains why he finds it funny.--Cher G 20:55, January 6, 2011 (UTC)


  • I find it interesting that you brought to light that authors usually do not like to explain the irony of topics they write about. Now that I think about it, I suppose it certainly is true. Perhaps they think that it'll keep us as the readers more interested if they "kept us hangin'" by not explaining the irony. -H Qu 04:53, January 7, 2011 (UTC)
  • I like how you bring up the role of irony in Emerson's piece. I agree that it is certainly a unique decision to explain why parts of his writing are ironic to him personally, but thinking back, I feel that it really does help us as readers connect with Emerson and feel as if we are getting to know him on a more personal level than we do with most authors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DEDELMAN (talkcontribs)
  • I enjoyed your take on Emerson's aphorism. Its good that you did not just comment on the obvious topic that Emerson was talking about, but drew an original thought about his intention. Jas.roth 02:55, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

Roth: Straying from the Norm of One’s AncestorsEdit

Emerson challenges the importance of ancestry which his Aunt has tried to ingrain in him. At the age of twenty-one, he tosses aside the notion that he should be like those that “sleep in their moonless night”, striving instead to be his own person. Today it is more normal for each descendent of lineage to create their own path, however, at the time that Emerson is writing, this is more unusual. While Emerson rejects the religious path of his ancestors, it is not because of a lack in spiritual belief. Rather, he does not particularly care for whatever those passed away might have been; his concern is only for the living. Emerson writes at the beginning of a new age, with those living producing new insights into the world around him. Those are the people, that will grasp his interest and hold his admiration. Jas.roth 21:06, January 6, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really like that you made the comparison between the more modern way of living and the way of living at the time of Emerson's writing. I also liked that you talked about Emerson being the beginning of a new age. I thought that was an interesting point. I thought the concluding sentence was great, too. It was a nice wrap-up, and you didn't leave me feeling like there was anything left unsaid. E Waterman 22:23, January 6, 2011 (UTC)
  • You were very insightful in keeping in mind the differences between contemporary cultural norms and those at the time when Emerson were writing. I liked how you were able to bridge that gap very effectively and also highlight the idea that Emerson was blazing into a new era. HQu 05:02, January 7, 2011 (UTC)
  • I think it is important that you recognize how the idea of one following a different life path than the generations before them was rather revolutionary during Emerson's time. I like how you tie this in nicely with stating that Emerson does not do this out of rebellion, but rather in an attempt to define his true self. I also like how you emphasize how he places deeper importance on the present than he does on that past. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DEDELMAN (talkcontribs)

January 7Edit

Emerson: AgeEdit

1858 - 1776 82 years count the age of the Union, and they say the nation is old and infirm as a man is with those years. Now a building is not in its prime until after 500 years. Nor should a nation be; and we aged at 80.

"Emerson's Journal" (1858)

Breuer: Age is Just a NumberEdit

Interestingly, the age of something and whether or not it is considered healthy and prime is a unique balance. 82 years old is a lifetime for man while just the adolescence of a building. What importance is a topic such as this? It is clear that every object, every person, structure or any noun for that matter, ages quite differently than other "nouns". People tend to correlate age with the way in which they age; buildings age slowly while food ages quickly. As readers and writers, we must understand that what seems outdated to one person, may be prime and ripe for another person. Do not judge something based upon its age; age is just a number. Breuerc 14:55, January 9, 2011 (UTC)


  • I just wanted to start the comments with a little insight on what I was thinking when writing this. I felt like this may not click with other readers and it may sound sort of unusual; however, I was inspired by Emerson's thoughts on the way in which people perceive age and when something is in it's prime. Others may have gotten a more patriotic view of this topic, however, I tried to do something a little more catchy than discussing that the nation is a young one. Breuerc 14:55, January 9, 2011 (UTC)
  • I really enjoy your spin on this topic. Your post provides us with a different opinion than that of Emerson and gives us something new to consider. My favorite line is, "People tend to correlate age with the way in which they age; buildings age slowly while food ages quickly." This paints a picture and perfectly describes your main argument. Sheehank 17:06, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • I think you did a great job taking a fairly vague topic and channeling your own insight and opinion. I think you raise some great questions as to how we regard age, and how although numeric measurement is considered "black and white" there is actually a great deal of gray area involved. Age is situational and dependent upon the interpreter's opinion. Kinzjohnson 17:15, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • I find your take on this topic so interesting. Rather than focusing on the number of years that a noun has been in existence, you choose to correlate it with how the noun has been used. The life cycle of a butterfly is only about six to eight weeks, but during that timespan it transforms from egg to caterpillar, chrysalis, and finally butterfly, all while eventually laying eggs for more butterflies. So much can happen in a short period of time for some, but for other things, such as a young America, its takes many years to build and grow into a meaningful history. While the last sentence about "age being just a number" may usually be considered too much of a cliche, I think that it fit perfectly in this analysis. KZiemba34 18:20, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • You're idea is sound, but you should expand a bit more. You stayed concentrated in one area about how "age is just a number" and how it affects the materials around us. Rather, I think it would be more interesting if you mentioned more how humans age; as in how age was once respected and is now looked down upon. Not that exactly, but something like it. Other than that, it was well written, and had some fun ideas to bounce around like how when buildings age they are still honored by some.--Cher G 16:58, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

Qu: Senility is sad?Edit

There are many adjectives that can be used to glorify old age, however Emerson chooses to describe it as "old" and "infirm". These two words convey a sense of uselessness and the presence of someone who is "infirm" could best be described as being burdensome. Emerson neglects the good aspects of being old such as being respected, wise, or being able to knit a mean sweater but instead chooses to focus on the not so bright aspects. Perhaps the date of this aphorism is relavant and he is trying to comment on the shoddy state of the Union at that point. Maybe he's commenting on the slow advances of civil liberties at that time; the Dred Scott Decision was just passed in 1857 declaring that African-Americans are not citizens. HQu 01:18, January 10, 2011 (UTC)


  • Your post is more of an analysis of Emerson. I would like to see more of your own thoughts about age. But, I do like how you consider what Emerson may have been referring to and the comparison between the good and bad aspects of old age. Sheehank 17:11, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • I liked how you called into question Emerson's own motivation for writing this piece, but I agree it could use a bit more personal insight. I also enjoyed how you wrote from your own voice, "being able to knit a mean sweater" because it shows you are not attempting to use "high flowing" language. You call into question that how a person regards age is dependent upon what exactly is going on during the time their writing in. It would be interesting to hear what events during our age might have an effect on our insights. Kinzjohnson 17:21, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • I felt that your post was very pleasing to read and helped to convey both Emerson's ideas and how you felt they were relevant in today's society. I agree with Kinzey's comment on your usage of "being able to knit a mean sweater," because it showed that you are using terms that relate to your audience, and you clearly have a firm opinion on what Emerson is saying. I liked that you included the Dred Scott Decision into your post because it showed additional knowledge of the time period that may help to better understand the mindset that Emerson is in. Great job at adding your own personality and ideas to Emerson's passage. KZiemba34 18:59, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • Your post was really well written. Your first sentence immediately jumped to your point, and you succinctly explained your own thoughts on age. I liked that you did not just explain Emerson's thought but you had the courage to disagree with Emerson, and point out your own positive view on aging.Jas.roth 03:03, January 12, 2011 (UTC)
  • This makes great use of words and has some interesting phrases in it. I like that this is also a mini history lesson too! I think this post makes sense and I agree with the second comment that it would be quite interesting to see what events will effect our insights. Or better yet, what Emerson would say at the current state of the Union. Breuerc 05:00, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

DEDELMAN: Birthday BluesEdit

While Emerson uses the logic of math to calculate the exact age of America at the time of this entry, he uses a different formula to determine how old the country needs to be in order to reach its "prime" . According to Emerson, a country needs a full 500 years to reach such a state, and while 82 years represent the full life of man, it merely represents only a fraction of a country's history. One can only assume that Emerson is attempting to be humorous (or at least ironic) in this entry for no one person could observe a country develop over a period of 500 years because as he states, most men of his time do not even live well past 80! Even if America does reach its prime 400 years after Emerson's writing, he himself will never be able to confirm such during his lifetime. Perhaps Emerson is suggesting that the "ripest" age is the age in which we learn to truly appreciate the beauty of our lives, and accept the fact that we are not immortal beings. Or in more visual terms, 500 candles simply cannot fit on one cake! —Preceding unsigned comment added by DEDELMAN (talkcontribs)


  • This post is very well written, but once again you are analyzing the words of Emerson. It would help if you voiced your own opinion on Age: what does it mean to you? Maybe you could expand your thoughts about birthdays or experiences. Great use of humor! Sheehank 17:16, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • Your post is a great analysis. I think you started voicing some of your opinions towards the second half of the post, and could maybe expand on what you think a prime age is, or how long a country needs to be in existence before it can be considered significant. I agree with Kelly though that your post had personality and was engaging! Kinzjohnson 17:26, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • I thoroughly enjoyed your post and your take on Emerson. I found myself engaged throughout the entire aphorism, and it read so quickly and smoothly without any need to stop and reread for clarification of ideas. Perhaps my favorite line is "500 candles simply cannot fit on one cake", because it is the perfect way to summarize your opinion of Emerson's ideas, and also is an amusing and fun example for me as a reader to see! KZiemba34 19:04, January 10, 2011 (UTC)
  • Your first sentence was really interesting by the way that it depicts how Emerson did out the math for the actual age of the nation, however, he quantifies ages of different things using words like "prime". It shows that something things can be quantified, while other can only be estimated. Great last two sentences; a little humor goes a long way. Breuerc 04:55, January 12, 2011 (UTC)
  • The beginning of your aphorism is well written, but what I think really speaks to the readers are the last two sentences. The reason being it is entertaining, as well as insightful. Now that we know what to do with the aphorism I would say that you should expand on those sentences and initiate the idea of what could happen if man could watch a country develop. Other than that, it is well thought out and highly entertaining. A few repetitive spots, but not to an extreme point where it is distracting. --Cher G 16:50, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

January 9Edit

Emerson: HypocrisyEdit

An idealist, if he have the sensibilities and habits of those whom I know, is very ungrateful. He craves every chemical property and every elemental force, loves pure air, light, caloric, wheat, flesh, salt, and sugar; the blood coursing in his own veins; and uses the meat he eats to preach against matter as malignant, and to praise mind, which he very hollowly and treacherously serves. Beware of hypocrisy.

Emerson's journal, 1856 (age 52)

Waterman: There Is No Room For Hypocrisy In ScienceEdit

Science is beautiful. Science has laws that cannot be broken. While hypocrisy exists everywhere in life--in religion, in what Mother and Father tell their young children--there is no room for hypocrisy in science. The Theory of Evolution is the basis of understanding of life as we know it to the scientific mind and a large portion of the general population. The Theory of Gravity makes sense of most of the physical phenomena people encounter everyday. Chemistry, biology, physics, and other sciences "say what they mean and mean what they say," so to speak. Never will you find that gravity fails once a month, or that electrons suddenly inhabit the nucleus of atoms. In science, there is an answer, set and fast. While the answer is not always known (Where did life come from?), it is sure that it will never contradict itself. 17:33, January 10, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by E Waterman (talkcontribs)


  • I chose to write about this, because it seemed to me that Emerson thought scientists were "idealists" and hypocrites. To me, there is nothing less hypocritical. My chemistry major may be showing through here, but I couldn't help but argue. 17:33, January 10, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by E Waterman (talkcontribs)
  • I really like your aphorism. Its good that you did not analyze Emerson, but instead wrote completely from your own original thoughts. You make a very strong and concise point about science. Everyone has different beliefs about many things in the world, but their are certain absolute truths in science which will never falter. I think your last sentence expressed that very well. I also liked that you pointed out that gravity and electrons will never stop working. This made me think about how we-human beings- are the only parts of the world with such hypocrisy. I suppose we could learn a lesson from gravity about how to be more consistent. Jas.roth 02:49, January 12, 2011 (UTC)
  • This aphorism is really well thought out. The concepts you present are well thought out. You know your definitions and you know how to propose truth in them. Something to add on possibly would probably by more evidence (which of course is unnecessary for a short aphorism). I would say to add a few more ideas into your description so that people who are not in tune with science can grasp a better understanding, but other than that this aphorism is well written, and well thought out. --Cher G 03:21, January 12, 2011 (UTC)
  • I must agree, this is a really great aphorism that is correctly written and conveys your views. As you mention in your comment about your writing, your science background is definitely showing through. I agree with your points on the topic in which Emerson speaks of; the laws of science are definite, nothing can change about them. It is an interesting contrast between your aphorism with Emerson's and I really like that you took a different route than him, great job! Breuerc 04:49, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

January 11Edit

Emerson: Human PotentialEdit

For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we inly were. Discharge to men the priestly office, and, present or absent, you shall be followed with their love as by an angel.

"True Christianity"

Johnson: A United Human PotentialEdit

Ideas regarding human potential vary depending on the person you're talking to. Each individual has their own opinion about what is best for us as people, or what is universal as humans. This has never been more apparent than it is today because of the increasing technological world that facilitates a mean of self expression on a global scale. Hot topics like religion and politics make these discourses in opinion ever apparent. The best thing we can do as a people, is not necessarily agree on what our potential is as humans, but respect our differences in belief and live united. Kinzjohnson 16:04, January 13, 2011 (UTC)


  • I like that you recognize that people are innately different, and that your solution is not to mold them into something different than what they were meant to be. During an era as radically changing as ours, we definitely need to respect our differences, there is not a doubt. With the singularity rapidly growing on the horizon we also need to use the essence of human presence to build such connections to bridge our differences. HQu 02:13, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Sheehan: Finding Our PotentialEdit

Often in society we get mixed up in the on-goings surrounding ourselves. It becomes easy for us to blend in and forget whom we truly are when living the life of someone else. We are all unique individuals capable of many things. By adapting to the regulations and customs commonly accepted by society, we are losing part of ourselves. We cannot reach our full potential by living someone else’s life, so it is important for us to not get caught up in what others are doing. Our potential may be different, and even better than those surrounding us, so their impact on us hinders our ultimate potential. On many different levels we can all reach our OWN potentials, and together that is unstoppable. Sheehank 19:23, January 12, 2011 (UTC)


  • What you say is true, we as a society do get distracted by what is around us. Your explanation seems to skim the surface of what you are truly saying though. Humans in general try to blend in; they need to constantly be reminded that difference is good and is what sets you apart from everyone else. The idea you have going is really insightful but I think that it could use more explanation. It kind of sounds as though you cannot find the words you are looking for to further explain your point making the reader go in circles. You present a valid argument and all that needs to happen is a deep breath and collection of thoughts.--Cher G 20:10, January 18, 2011 (UTC)

Ziemba: Counting What CountsEdit

Every person has the potential to be whoever they want to be. Of course, that sounds like an absolute cliche that everyone hears from their parents or teachers at some point in their life, but it seems that along the way, people begin to forget that. I had the dream to be an astronaut when I was younger, but an impossible AP Physics class and a few attempts at the Math B Regents exam, I started to lose that confidence and feel that I was not smart enough. Thinking about it now, however, I realize that I still have that potential to become the astronaut I wanted to be, I just needed to sit back and remember that I have the potential to do whatever it is I set out to do. We all find ourselves trapped in a life of schedules, meetings, and assignments, but it is imperative that we reconsider how our existence is effecting this word, and revising our lifestyle if needed. KZiemba34 20:00, January 12, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really like this! I especially love the last sentence. I agree that it is important to think about the kind of impact our lives will make upon the world. I think your example was a great one, and it's easy to see the passion that you have. E Waterman 04:13, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm going to disagree with Erin on the the last sentence. I think it is too broad. Most people who use their potential don't make a huge impact on the world. In fact, most people don't make in impact on the world at all. I like the idea that we all have a potential to do what we want, but rather than have that potential affect the world why don't we look at how it can affect the people around us. That way, rather than being remembered by a bunch of people who don't really know us, we can be remembered by the people who love us. Other than that I like your aphorism, it's very uplifting.--Cher G 20:17, January 18, 2011 (UTC)
  • Working hard at something is only half the battle, butt is certainly the harder portion. It is easy to be passionate about an aspiration and to want to be the best at it. Putting in the work to become a master of your passion is the real challenge. I like how this passage explains that with a lot of persistence, no accomplishment is outlandish. AlecWeiss 17:10, January 19, 2011 (UTC)

January 13Edit

Emerson: Lost WalletEdit

Dear Mrs Perkins, I enclose $10, the sum you so kindly lent me, with my best tanks; but am still vexed with clouding your pure hospitality by your sympathy for such an absurd mishap. In the bare chance that the wallet should be picked up by an honest finer, I add, what I believe I told you, that there was no name, - it was a common purplish one, containing the uncounted bills which Mr. Wicker had just given me, & perhaps $25 or $28 more, two or three bills being of the Concord Mass. bank; some postage stamps, & a blank and cheque of the Atlantic Bank, Boston. I do not think of any other means of identification, & I am quite sure none will be wanted. But I am sorry that I did not say to you that I had rather lose it than have it advertised in any manner. If you're in my neighborhood, it will give me great pleasure to show you my household. One of these days Willie will come to see me on his way to Cambridge, I hope, if Cambridge mends its faults, & deserves the best boys. But if the boys of this day, as I told you, seem to me to have a proud future before them. Yours, with kindest regards,

"Lost Wallet"

Breuer: Have faithEdit

Faith is not only a matter of religion, as it is so mistakenly used. Faith can be something that one has in themselves, a loved one, or even a total stranger. Lately, I have been entranced by a television show that was on a couple of years ago called Prison Break. It is the story of an innocent man sentenced to death in a prison for the killing of the President's brother. His brother, upon visiting his brother, came to realization that he indeed was innocent and got himself locked up in order for him to break his brother out of jail. Upon breaking out, the brothers were held hostage numerous times by the people who set the innocent brother out. The brothers were reminded their whole journey that they needed to have a little faith. Faith in each other, faith in themselves, and faith in the captures that they won't harm them. It's not just a god that people need to have faith in; there is so much more. Have some faith in yourself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Breuerc (talkcontribs)


  • This is a really neat anecdote and takes the form of faith as Emerson described and helps it blossom into another equally delightful form of faith. Your story not only makes me want to watch "Prison Break" but it very nicely encapsulates this concept of faith and how many different ways there are to channel it, in ourselves, and in others. I feel that faith is such an important thing to have and believe in, especially during the dark winter months. I have faith in you, Curtis. HQu 01:32, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • I really liked that you used the idea that faith can be so much more than just something applied to religion. It was great that you took an outside example and used it to support your point. I've never even heard of Prison Break before, but I had no trouble understanding the connexion. I think your aphorisms are always original and very well-written, great job! E Waterman 03:57, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • Your use of opposition to emphasize what is truly your main point is very effective and dramatic. Your post describes fully the topic of faith. You did a great job of enhancing your point by adding a personal experience and making a connection to the higher literature. Your post displays a strong message and many will listen. Sheehank 00:23, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • This is an interesting take on faith. I enjoyed your personal connection to it. I agree that there are different kinds of faith. What do you think defines or separates these different types of faith? I personally believe it is easier to maintain faith in yourself than in external factors. Overall, great response! Kinzjohnson 17:20, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I really like the message that you got across in your paragraph; the final line, "Have some faith in yourself", was an excellent way to summarize your ideas and to further inspire! I have never personally seen the show Prison Break but I like where it has taken you in terms of developing your analytical paragraph. We are faced with so many different trials and tribulations during our lives, so it is sometimes hard to know whose story to trust and what exactly to believe. To play off of the 'Prison Break idea': even if someone is family, does that automatically make them innocent? Who can you trust? I know that we live in a society where people focus on trust being earned, but I have always been the type to trust first and then, if that person somehow dishonors my trust, they can work to earning it back. It is that small piece of faith that I have in all people, whether I have known them my whole life, or only an hour, that makes me want to trust them. If you ever get the chance to read the book "Have A Little Faith" by Mitch Albom, it is the perfect example of that lesson. There is always a little bit of faith left in everyone.KZiemba34 19:56, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I enjoyed your commentary on the power of faith. I think that simple ideas, like faith in oneself, are often forgotten about in the midst of society's often unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, like you say, I think that all it takes is (as you say) a little faith in oneself to make them realize how powerful one is as an individual, regardless of how they might "measure up" in society. DEDELMAN 04:35, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

Roth: KindnessEdit

It is easy to look at the world with a cynical eye, but it takes courage to find the kindness that does in fact exist all around us. In each day we may experience the compassion of a friend being there when we need it, the goodnatured heart of a stranger who holds the door, the sympathy of someone who lends us money when we loose our wallets, or caring phone calls from home. Recently, I found myself on a train, feeling cold, hungry and tired, when an older woman seated next to me offered me an orange. In my hunger I thanked her and took her offer. As I ate this delicious orange I realized how grateful I was towards this woman who went out of her way to be thoughtful of a stranger. Let us not take for granted the kindness in our lives, let us not belittle it, but in fact let us appreciate every kind heart that we encounter. Jas.roth 01:08, January 14, 2011 (UTC)


  • I like how you start out with a lil' contradiction and then turn it completely around, makes for a very interesting read. I also love your sense of optimism, its very contagious! Your story is very heartwarming and really shines on the beauty of human nature. Your aphorism and Curtis's complement each other nicely and remind us of the need to take care of each other on an everyday basis. HQu 01:43, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • I loved this! I thought this connects really well to the Emerson piece while still being very original. This is really beautiful aphorism that really reminded me of just how kind people can be. I agree with Hansong, your optimism is contagious! The only thing I have as a correction is just a minor detail: You said "loose" our wallets, instead of "lose." But this is just lovely! E Waterman 04:04, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
  • This post is very well written! It is polished and written in a unique style that is friendly and of a higher status. It is also very insightful, as you give many examples. Great use of a personal anecdote! You give your readers a message to appreciate that is different, yet still as important as Curtis's post. Sheehank 00:31, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I enjoyed your anecdote and thought it brought a lot of color to your entry. I agree that kindness is imperative in day to day life and it often goes unnoticed. I believe kindness, when it is recognized, is contagious and good deeds can be passed on from one person to the next. Kinzjohnson 17:23, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I found this paragraph so bright and nice to read. The two opening sentences really grasped at the idea that I, too, had interpreted from Emerson. Of course it is only human to find yourself being bogged down by the negative events that are happening in your life, but there is always some small amount of light leaking through that can help to brighten your whole day. I loved how personal you made this paragraph, including your own story about a relevant experience that clearly made an impact on your life. It makes you wonder: If that small at of kindness left such a positive imprint on me, then what have I done to make that impact on someone else?KZiemba34 19:56, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • Like the commenters before me, I also really enjoyed this personal anecdote! I agree that we are often so caught up in our busy lives that we ignore both the simple forms of kindness that others show to us, but also we often miss opportunities to lend a kind hand to a person in need. Perhaps we need to slow down in out daily endeavors in order to appreciate and connect with those around us in order to learn more about ourselves and others. DEDELMAN 04:28, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

Gordon: Giving InformationEdit

Publicizing something that is not yours in a manner that the world can find out is not exactly bright or appreciable. The fact that humans in general have items that they would like to hide, or keep hidden, is for a reason. To post that item, which could possibly be something that people want hidden, in a public area is overstepping a boundary of human decency simply because they are showing off, in a matter of words, what is not theirs. When a person finds something that is not theirs and they do not recognize it, their best bet is to leave it be because they do not know who the owner is or what the owner would have wanted them to do with the object.--Cher G 05:16, January 14, 2011 (UTC)


  • You start off your post with a very strong opinion and the reader can immediately see your tone in the opening sentence. Strategically, you explain why you feel this way. I would have liked if you made a personal connection to the topic you were writing about or explained more where your hatred comes from. Also, it is very straight forward and a closing sentence may have been nice. But, I did enjoy this post in a different way than the others and your voice is a dominant force. Sheehank 00:43, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I definitely agree with your post. Our generation is especially susceptible to this because the internet is so expansive and easy to access. It is important we don't forget to respect basic rights of ownership and privacy. Disrespecting a person's privacy and ownership is not only painful for them, but for the person that did so as well. Although they might feel a sense of temporary accomplishment, in time the truth may come out, or the overwhelming truth that any admiration they received was not theirs would override the joy. Kinzjohnson 17:28, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I genuinely enjoyed the enthusiasm that you have in this paragraph and the different light you have shed on this aphorism. I think that it is so important that people respect their fellow man yet, in this age it appears that people think they have the right to take anything as their own, when in fact that is not the case. Your ideas spark the controversy involving plagiarism and how, with the internet, it is even easier today to steal someone else's works and make it your own. Not only does this take away from the development of your own self and skills, but it takes away from the progress that we have made as a whole people towards a respectful society. If we cannot respect others then how can we say we respect ourselves? KZiemba34 19:56, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
  • I enjoyed your commentary on the importance of privacy and modesty, and the idea of respecting that of others. I did find your language a bit ambiguous at times as I am not sure if these "objects" are figurative or literal. Regardless, I think that it is important to remember to value our belongings and beliefs for the sake of ourselves, and not feel the need to advertise them in order to gain the approval of others. DEDELMAN 04:32, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

January 17Edit

Emerson: BeliefEdit

The two parties in life are the believers and unbelievers, variously named. The believer is poet, saint, democrat, theocrat, no-church, no capital punishment, idealist.

The unbeliever supports the church, education, the fine arts &c as amusements...

But the unbelief is very profound; who can escape it?

I am nominally a believer: yet I hold on to property: I eat my bread with unbelief. I approve every wild action of the experimenters. I say what the say concerning celibacy or money or community of goods and my only apology for not doing their work is preoccupation of mind. I have a work of my own which I know I can do with some success. It would leave that undone if I should undertake with them and I do not see in myself any vigour equal to such an enterprise. My Genius loudly calls me to stay where I am, even with the degradation of owning bankstock and seeing poor men suffer whilst the Universal Genius apprises me of this disgrace & beckons me to the martyr's and redeemer's office.

Emerson's Journals, 1843 (age 40)

Waterman: Atheism, a Belief of Many ThingsEdit

I am an atheist. I have been told by friends and family members that this means I do not believe in anything, and how can I live like that? Being an atheist does not mean not believing in anything--that is only true if you believe that God is everything. In that case, I would say your world is much too small. As an atheist, I still believe in many things: the value of education, happiness, laughter, and love; the power of peace; the individual. I value morality as defined by me. I value the ability to stand up for what I believe. I don't think the world is a miracle of God, but instead a blessing of life and a wonder of science. Belief has been thought of for too long as the acceptance of the existence of a God (or more than one). Instead, let it be defined as the acceptance of anything as personally true. An atheist, then, is no difference from any religious person except for one belief. —Preceding unsigned comment added by E Waterman (talkcontribs) E Waterman 21:18, January 18, 2011 (UTC)


  • I think your aphorism brings up a valid point, and something you are very passionate about. I do believe that atheist can be just as much believers in something as religious people, and your aphorism proved that you are a believer of many important things. The fact that you have had the courage to shape your own morality and find what you believe passionately on your own, without a religious institution, and despite what family and friends have said, is an admirable thing. However I did take small offense, to your line "if you believe that God is everything. In that case, I would say your world is much too small" I would say that I believe God is everything, because I believe the universe is a creation and reflection of God. I see God in everything, but that does not make my world too small. I am not a closed minded, small thinking person, rather like you I am open to and believe in many things. I sincerely respect you and your beliefs, and I would hope you respect mine as well. Jas.roth 14:09, January 18, 2011 (UTC)
  • Although we are not supposed to say what we like within the comments, and I apologize for doing so, but I like the fact that you boldly stated that you are an atheist. I too do not believe in any one god or many gods for that matter. Though, I do not say I am atheist, I simple say I have no beliefs. This does not mean that I can not be a spiritual person or get the strange feelings atop majestic mountains. Instead of saying, "wow, thanks God for making this", I say "how tremendous the fact that this took millions of years to eventually uplift, erode, cement, and put together the landscapes". I am not immoral because I don't believe I am going to be going "hell" merely because I do something wrong; instead, I know what I personally think to be not just based upon my perception of me in the world. However, I do not spend my life worrying whether or not I will go to the next world, instead, I feel like by not having any beliefs, that I can focus on living my life and making the most of life. My thoughts and my mind are only mine, no one controls my thoughts but me. My existence happens once, through the life of my organisms time span; when my cells and organs cease to live, so does my mind. I do not need to live for a god(s). I live for me. Breuerc 21:10, January 18, 2011 (UTC)

Qu: Virtue?Edit

What is it? I suppose the most accurate statement that can be made is that it is something that everyone is seeking; To live virtuously so that others may follow in your footsteps. A dictionary definition would probably sound something like, to live morally and righteously. This is what people of religion are looking for. It doesn't matter if you believe in one god, two gods, or even three hundred gods, the overarching concept is to live selflessly and surrender your being into loving one another. To achieve an interbeing and humanity that is united by their love and faith for each other.HQu 19:35, January 17, 2011 (UTC)


  • Your aphorism is really well written and a very important topic. I agree virtue is something that transcends religion, culture, belief systems of any kind, because it is something humanity as a whole is seeking. Although every person may hold a different set of morals that they adhere too, I think most people can agree to the same value in selflessness,and living a life lived for other people. I think its fitting that you wrote this on the day we observe Martin Luther King day, as he is a great man full of virtue that we all admire so much. Jas.roth 14:18, January 18, 2011 (UTC)
  • This is delicate subject for many people and I believe you dealt with it very well. You speak not that one religion is right or wrong but that the belief of anything helps people out in their own way. I think that you could go further into some of the aspects of it, giving more evidence as to why it works that way, and whether or not people are happier that way, but other than that it was very well done.--Cher G 20:23, January 18, 2011 (UTC)
  • Religion may be an escape for some and a means to know how to live selflessly; however, does this mean that all who do not practice religion or those who want nothing to do with religion do not want to live selfless? Some people do not want to practice religion and instead surrender their being into loving another human being, or loving the Earth. Breuerc 00:23, January 19, 2011 (UTC)
  • As any word the embodies a concept is hard to define, virtue is among the hardest. I agree with your estimate of the dictionary definition, yet virtue is far more of a in intangible. Virtue is know that holding a door for another isn't going to get you any sense of accomplishment or satisfaction other than the gratification of knowing that you made someones day a little easier, yet we know it is conventional. AlecWeiss 17:15, January 19, 2011 (UTC)

DEDELMAN: Paradoxical Belief?Edit

I feel as though it is possible to believe in everything, and believe in nothing at the same time. I feel this way for I feel that life can be looked at as a series of paradoxes. I believe in God, yet I cannot explain what God looks like or even prove his existence, yet I attribute much of my attitude on life to my relationship with such a God. I have questioned throughout my life what has contributed to my faith in a God. While I have always lived in a secular society, I have never rejected the belief in a single greater being due to the fact that there is so much about my very existence that I will never be able to explain, at least not in human terms. In this way, I explain many of the uncertainties in my life through the unexplainable. When looked at from this angle, the paradoxes in my own beliefs seem endless. DEDELMAN 04:22, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

January 19Edit

Emerson: Perception of the NileEdit

We enjoy heartily this watery journey, & have spent the last two days in the colossal temples on the two sides of the river here. Every day is clear & hot, the sky rich, the shores lined with palm groves, the birds innumerable, the ibis, the penguin, the hawk & the eagle, with vast flights of geese & ducks & flocks of little birds of sparrow size who fly and in a rolling globe, whirl round & return again every minute. The crocodile is promised to us a little higher up the river but not yet seen. The Nile has daily the appearance of a long lake whose end we are always fast approaching, but the shores separate as we come to them opening new lakes of which we choose the broadest. Egypt is nothing but a long strip of land lines with a rocky desert on either side, & the river brings down each year the mud from the unknown regions in the South to give these wretched ribbon strips three harvests instead of one. The people are negroes in color, & often in the whole head and face, but are called Arabs, speak Arabic, and have excellent forms.

Letter to his wife from Egypt, May 1873

Ziemba: Changing Your Viewpoint and Looking BeyondEdit

In this aphorism, Emerson finds himself experiencing a new culture that is almost the opposite of his own. Rather, with the many shades of people in this world, there are also different personalities, vernaculars, traditions, etc. Of course, that is not a new idea to myself and most of my peers, who have all assumably been raised in an environment where diversity is a necessity and no two people are alike. I think that Emerson is encouraging individuals to never be too comfortable in the lifestyle that they have, for there is always some way that we can improve our mindset to better not only ourselves, but humanity. When I was younger, my dad would take me to Boston every year to see Harvard, presumably the educational goal that many parents have for their children. Anyway, whenever we would walk down the street, I was in awe at the amount of homeless people on the street, a new experience for a small town girl like myself. I would always reach in my pocket and attempt to dole out the money that my mom had given me to put towards another Red Sox sweatshirt or Harvard banner, and my dad would quickly stop me, explaining that many of those people were trying to scam tourists. I never quite understood that. When we went to Boston last year, my dad and I volunteered at a soup kitchen, and I finally was able to talk to the people that I had long urged to give to. While I know that it is true that there are many people who try to scam tourists for money, my dad and I learned from the soup kitchen that no matter what, it takes a lot for someone to be desperate enough to sit on the street and beg for money. Even though I cannot possibly give my change to every homeless person on the street, it makes a difference to give what you can. My dad and I both learned to look beyond the bitter stereotype of people living on the street and opening to our eyes to the bigger picture: a problem cannot be solved without the help of that first person. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KZiemba34 (talkcontribs)


  • Diversity is among one of the greatest wonders of traveling. Even while traveling within the States, one can find incredible diversity. I personally come from a town that has one person of color and every other person is white. I seek not to change this, but to get away from such a culturally un-unique community. Traveling for me is a way to experience what I was deprived of as a child. Diversity helps people to become better people. Breuerc 00:32, January 19, 2011 (UTC)
  • Your story about the homeless people in Boston is really inspiring. Every time I go into the city I can't help but want to help every homeless person that I see. Of course, its disheartening to think that I could be getting scammed, or that that person might just use my change for drugs. But I agree we can make a difference to someone if we open our minds and hearts. I had this one experience, when I was walking around NYC on a cold february night with some friends. We turned a corner and I saw a young girl, she looked about my age, sitting on a cardboard box. I was about to keep walking, but I turned around and walked back. I squatted down next to her, said hello, and pulled an extra pair of gloves, and the snacks that I had packed for my friend and I, out of my bag and gave them too her. I'll never forget the surprise and gratitude in the smile that came across her face. This was a powerful experience for me, so I think its important to open our minds and hearts to reaching out to other people, and we will open ourselves to remarkable experiences. Jas.roth 03:16, January 19, 2011 (UTC)
  • I live near the city and visit it frequently. When I was younger I would rarely hesitate to give money to the homeless that frequent the streets of the city and the stops of the T. The more I would visit the city the more desensitized I would become to the homeless and less often I found myself giving to them. It becomes easier to ignore the problem than to confront it. It is a strange realization that the issue of poverty is on a much larger scale and must be dealt with accordingly, or at least that's what I began to tell myself. It's a simple way of addressing the problem without actually doing anything about it, and is, unfortunately, is an adequate distraction. AlecWeiss 17:02, January 19, 2011 (UTC)
  • To be quite honest, when I was younger and even sometimes now, homeless people scare me. I guess compared to other big cities Boston has less people in unfortunate circumstances, and I agree with Alec the more I got into the city, the more it seems like they are becoming part of the background, like white noise. Now I've adopted this "policy" where whenever I go into the city for work or whatever, I give the money to the first person deserving of it that I see. I tell myself that this way, hopefully I will eventually get to everyone in the city? I know thats not going to happen, but can't a guy hope? HQu 21:40, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

Sheehan: Looking Through the Eyes of a StudentEdit

Everyday our eyes are open to the wonders of the world. We have the ability to take in the beauty surrounding us and interact with one another. Looking around campus today, through the millions of snow flurries in the sky, I can see the campus of Union College, recognize the Nott, and examine all those who pass. Life is beautiful. The snow is covering the campus in a white blanket. The people I pass are all bundled up with hoods covering their heads and scarves masking their faces; but who truly are these people? They are our classmates and they love Union just as much as we do. Beneath all of their layers of warmth and their faces turned down in an effort to avoid the snow, they are people we can connect to. Walking to class we should not only take in the beauty of our surrounding landscapes, but also the beauty of the people in front of us. We should exchange greetings and smiles with one another. These simple interactions would truly make the campus come alive. Sheehank 17:15, January 19, 2011 (UTC)


  • I guess some of the stuff you're saying about people being heavily bundled up is a bit extreme, but I definitely see where you're coming from. Most people just look down or are listening to music as the traverse across the wintry campus and should definitely interact more with each other. Its not like everyone they pass is a scary Schenectady local, and as peers we absolutely should at least acknowledge each other's presences. I like the perspective you took in this aphorism, its very genuine and we can all relate to it. HQu 21:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC)

January 18Edit

Emerson: EmancipationEdit

Emancipation removes the whole objection to union. Emancipation at one stroke elevates the poor white of the South, and identifies his interest with that of the Northern laborer.

Now, in the name of all that is simple and generous, why should not this great right be done? Why should not America be capable of a second stroke for the well-being of the human race, as eighty or ninety years ago she was for the first,—of an affirmative step in the interests of human civility, urged on her, too, not by any romance of sentiment, but by her own extreme perils? It is very certain that the statesman who shall break through the cobwebs of doubt, fear and petty cavil that lie in the way, will be greeted by the unanimous thanks of mankind.

"American Civilization"

Johnson: Emancipation: Not Such An Old WordEdit

Emancipation is a word typically associated with the freeing of slaves many, many years ago. In my opinion, this word is still very much alive today when discussing issues of race. Although slavery no longer exists, people of every race are still oppressed by race related stereotypes and judgments. I was recently talking to one of my friends and she explained that she loves hip-hop music but does not like to tell people because she is white and "doesn't have the same right to like it that black people do." Not only does this suggest that in a sense all black people like hip-hop, but it also limits the music to one race. In reality, music is something that is universal and connects us as humans. This is just one small example of the effects of stereotyping, but this mindset permeates throughout our society socially, poetically, and much more. It is important to remember that holding on to false judgments is not only bad for whatever race is being stereotypes, but is damaging to all races as a whole. Kinzjohnson 00:39, January 19, 2011 (UTC)


  • Although in a way, rap and hip-hop did help African-Americans take the modern world by storm. Spreading like wildfire from focal points like New York and Detroit, their lyrics and beats are incredible (for the most part) and very deep. Stereotypes are still very much on the forefront of everyone's minds but we as a society have done a much better job of toning it down and turning it more into an internal thing.HQu 21:04, January 20, 2011 (UTC)
  • I find that we often associate different interests in society with a particular race. Hip-hop music, as you say, is most closely associated with the African American culture based on its roots in society. That is not tosay that people of other races cannot partake in the "hip-hop" culture, but that historically, it is perhaps most relevant to the African American community. Of course, different individuals or even groups of many different backgrounds, are constantly coming along and reinventing or giving new interpretations of hip-hop music, and for better or for worse, changing society's perception of the phenomenon. DEDELMAN 19:56, January 21, 2011 (UTC)

January 20Edit

Emerson: PoetryEdit

Poetry is the perpetual endeavor to express the spirit of the thing, to pass the brute body, and search the life and reason which causes it to exist ; - to see that the object is always flowing away, whilst the spirit or necessity which causes it subsists. Its essential mark is that it betrays in every word instant activity of mind, shown in new uses of every fact and image, - in preternatural quickness or perception of relations. All its words are poems. It is a presence of mind that gives a miraculous command of all means of uttering the thought and feeling of the moment. The poet squanders on the hour an amount of life that would more than furnish the seventy years of the man that stands next him.

"Poetry and Imagination"

Gordon: Open the DoorEdit

Being able to sit down and say what you mean takes a lot of time and effort, especially when there is no pretext to what you want to say. The writer is showing how he or she feels about the topic they have decided to write about and most of the time it is not for people to just go along and read it, but rather for the writer to clear their head. The more the write on the topic, be it a rant, poem, or story, the clearer the mind becomes, and in a few rare cases the more frustrated, because the topic they are writing on becomes more and more in depth and the writer is unable to solve their own riddle. When someone writes about something they have chosen they have taken that extra step of delving into their conscious mind to bring out their subconscious thoughts. --Cher G 22:59, January 20, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really enjoyed this post! It is a very interesting take on Emerson’s passage, but at the same time I can very clearly see the connection you are making. I love how instead of talking about the reader unraveling the meaning of each word (as often occurs in students analyzing poetry), you give us the perspective of the writer. You then go further to explain the possible reasons an author may write. This post was very interesting and enjoyable to read coming from someone who does some writing of her own, thank you! My only suggestion would be to include an example of why you personally write or why you believe David Foster Wallace wrote. These specific examples would help your post become even more real to us. Sheehank 20:10, January 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • This is a great entry. I agree that writing serves as a form of self-expression and also facilitates a way to form connections among people. In my own experience, I have found I often don't know exactly how I feel about something until I write about it. Writing is a way to untangle thoughts and feelings, similar to having a conversation, but it offers more of a self-reflection. Kinzjohnson 17:16, January 24, 2011 (UTC)
  • I find this entry such a journey into the reasoning behind our thinking process and how it is that we communicate with others. I found the line " the writer is unable to solve their own riddle" such a beautiful way to phrase your idea, and it really helped to define why it is that we write about certain topics and what they mean to us. I am interested to hear your opinion on other topics, because from the way that you have expressed yourself above and the way that you speak in class, it feels as though you use your ability to communicate as almost an exercise in your personal evolution. I am a firm believer that we are put on this plant TOGETHER for a reason. While it is so easy to become introverted and a "loner" if you will, one must always try to make an effort to extend themselves to others. How else will we be able to express our ideas to others and improve or humanity in the process? Connections and communication are the true tools to making an impressionable and meaningful existence. KZiemba34 19:59, January 24, 2011 (UTC)

Roth: The Power of ArtEdit

Art comes in many forms, and is created for many reasons. Writing, painting, dancing, composing, are all forms of art that allow the creator to express himself or herself, and reflect the outside world. These works of art can transcend their physical existence to express something deeper, emotional or spiritual. Art has the power to take the ordinary and transform it into the magical, but it can also take the mystical and change it to something relatable. For all the power that art holds itself, some recognition must go to the artist, for their talent for expressing their perceptions of the world. Jas.roth 00:43, January 21, 2011 (UTC)


  • I agree that art has many definitions and is a highly personal expression. I believe, that art does not always need to be made in order for others to interpret, but also as a way for us to interpret ourselves. Those who are able to create the best forms of art, regardless of the medium, are those who are able to convey a part about themselves that cannot be conveyed in any other way, and something that is not at all visible from outward appearances.DEDELMAN 20:01, January 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • This post could use some elaboration on where artists may find inspiration or how they choose what to create. Emerson talks about the many individual words that each have meaning within a larger piece of art, it would help to know the inner depths of art that you are specifically talking about. Maybe you could also share a personal story or experience when art has spoken to you? This would help build on the concrete statements your post already makes. Sheehank 20:11, January 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree that art holds a great power. Do you believe this can be found in other things? What exactly defines art? Those are my main questions raised from your entry. I believe art arouses a mixture of self-expression and external connection. By that definition it can be found in many places, not just what we typically define as art (music, writing, painting, dancing, etc). Overall, this was a very interesting entry! Kinzjohnson 17:19, January 24, 2011 (UTC)
  • I really enjoy this paragraph because I felt that you hold a deep personal connection with one or more of the types of art that you listed. I feel, however, that you could have perhaps tied your own experience with art into the passage. I love that you mentioned the idea that art "can also take the mystical and change it to something relatable," because I feel that many people will sometimes look at a certain topic or event and not understand what exactly is going on, but with art, someone has already done the understanding, and has put it in a form that you can actually relate to and comprehend. I do not feel that art makes the world beautiful, rather it accentuates it's beauty.KZiemba34 19:59, January 24, 2011 (UTC)

Breuer: ExpressionEdit

Self expression is the key to what is on the inside. The people of the world with the ability -and opportunity- to express themselves as human beings have the ability to not only show who they are as a person, but give insight on the world in which we all live in. Those who give themselves the precious time necessary for letting their personal workings of their mind flow out in some type of expressive means, hold talent that is prized and envied by many. It is not easy to be a leader or someone who puts themselves "out there"; thus, we must find those who are expressing themselves by whatever means they choose, and praise them. Praise expression. Breuerc 03:15, January 21, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really like how this post looks beyond the words written on a page and into the expression of ones self. Your post is very insightful and deep. Your writing has a similar style to Emerson’s because it is easy to read and the message is clear. Your post is relatable and offers advice. It also holds strong and dominant values. Maybe you could have given an example of how it is not easy to be a leader or why it is so important to praise these types of people? Sheehank 20:13, January 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with a lot of what you said in your entry. One question I have though is do you think all expression should be praised? Especially in America, we have the freedom to express ourselves, which is a great gift, but it also opens the door to potentially hurtful expression. Would the best expression, and most praiseworthy, then be expression that the greatest majority relates to? I think you raise a lot of interesting points in your post that could definitely be expanded on. Great job! Kinzjohnson 17:25, January 24, 2011 (UTC)

Weiss: LanguageEdit

Words are the tools that allow expression of thought. We all perceive the world differently and learn from out experiences uniquely. That being said, words are rarely used for anything more than simple conversation. This in a way cheapens their meaning and makes them devoid of beauty on their own. The point of poetry is to talk about what is rarely said by making use of language in a way that is unconventional. As humans we are wired with emotions that affect the way we act, define who we are and shape the way others perceive us. Poetry is the epitome of those emotions. AlecWeiss 17:33, January 21, 2011 (UTC)

Qu: Ars ardeo latet arte suaEdit

His art was hidden in the art itself. Nowadays art is such a loosely defined word and some of the things "labeled" as art are just ridiculous. Real art is when the artist loses themselves in the art so deeply such as Pygmalion that they are lost within it and can't go on without it being a reality in their lives. But however ludicrous the art may be, as long as the artist feels passionately about their work and throws their entire being into its creation, their art will be lost in the art itself. In a society where so much around us is ephemeral, art is needed more than ever as a constant. Life is a work of art, paint it well. HQu 22:36, January 23, 2011 (UTC)

  • I think that you provide a very interesting perspective on the way that poetry takes the banal existence of words and makes them full of life once more. I agree that poetry helps to express emotions in a way that is not typically heard anymore, but in my opinion, it is our job as readers of poetry to find a way to make everyday language beautiful again. When someone asks me how I am doing, they say "Hey, what's up," and I will reply "Not much, you." What kind of conversation is that? Instead, I would love to tell someone a whole paragraph oh eloquent words and phrases about how my day is "absolutely wonderful beyond belief," but I'm sure that I would not receive a text back...In order to change our perception of words, we should consider bringing poetry into the everyday conversation, and leaving the quick one-word responses to someone else. KZiemba34 19:59, January 24, 2011 (UTC)

January 24Edit

Emerson: Man ThinkingEdit

Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind. They are the kings of the world who give the color of their present thought to all nature and all art, and persuade men by the cheerful serenity of their carrying the matter, that this thing which they do is the apple which the ages have desired to pluck, now at last ripe and inviting nations to the harvest. The great man makes the great thing.... The day is always his who works in it with serenity and great aims. The unstable estimates of men crowd to him whose mind is filled with truth, as the heaped waves of the Atlantic follow the moon.

"The American Scholar"

Waterman: The Beauty of ThoughtEdit

No matter your age, race, profession, or level of education, one thing is for certain: If you are human, you are capable of thought. A thought is such a beautiful thing. It can take any shape; it can be fantastical or factual. You can daydream about a fight between pirates and velociraptors or you can ponder the number of enantiomers for a particular molecule. Thoughts can change the world. Someone thought up the idea of the Internet, of the printing press, of evolution. No matter who you are, you can think. If you can think, you can create a world or change our world. That is the beauty of a thought. E Waterman 17:26, January 24, 2011 (UTC)


  • This was quite interesting. It is true that thoughts, or ideas, move the evolution of technology and human morals along its path. My question to you would be: If everyone had their own unique thoughts then who would be the first to create their ideas? Also, would the person who thought up the idea be able to produce their concept? You bring up a really good point, and I think the best thing to do would be to incorporate these questions and figure out how these thoughts would interact with one another. --Cher G 05:32, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • This is a wonderful aphorism. It is a blessing that we can all think for ourselves, something we may sometimes take for granted. What if the universe worked differently, and there was only one conscious thought that we all shared. How boring and unimaginative would that be?! You bring up such an important point that thought is beautiful, and that the potential for growing, or producing our thoughts is beautiful as well. Of course, not everyone will invent something, publish a book, or come up with a new scientific theory, but we all have the starting utensils to do all these things and more, and that is our thoughts. Jas.roth 15:38, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Thought is truly a beautiful thing. Humans can really do a lot with thought and that is what is so special about it. I think the best thing about being a human is just creating your own universe one second, and pondering our own the next. I can remember in my childhood my first thoughts on why I am a living, breathing, thing. I used to not be able to think because I was deep in thought just wanting to know about my place in the world. Breuerc 04:18, January 26, 2011 (UTC)

Edelman: Great MindsEdit

I think that we all are capable of our own greatness. Society imposes upon us unrealistic definitions of what greatness truly means. For example, while I enjoyed watching The Steelers v. The Jets game last night (go Pats), I cannot say that any player on that field is making a significant contribution to society by being there, even though those players have achieved the fame and fortune often associated with greatness in our society. Greatness comes from recognizing the challenges in one's own life and overcoming such to serve a role model for oneself and for others. Greatness comes from taking care of those who matter to us, while still managing to take care of ourselves. The definition of a "great person" is relative to each individual and serves as an often unattainable ideal for which we should all constantly strive. DEDELMAN 17:40, January 24, 2011 (UTC)


  • I don't know if I fully agree with that. I do like how you point out that just because one is famous and has achieved what the media would call greatness does not mean they really have, but then we also have to think about how they could have achieved greatness simply because they are doing what they love and it makes them happy. I like how your opinions are clear and strong, but I think for next time, try some counter points and then show evidence as to why you are right. --Cher G 05:36, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • I like that you pointed out some different examples of what a great person can be, and then reminded us that the definition of greatness is a personal thing. There are so many great things that someone can do, so many ways a person can become a great person, so each one of us has limitless potential for doing something great, or becoming great in some way. Its interesting that you say we are "capable" of greatness, but later call it "unattainable". This seems a bit of a contradiction, but how I would it would be that there is never a point where we can say "I am done. I have reached greatness" because its something you can always continue to strive for, but at the same time, we can recognize the great things that we are accomplishing, will accomplish, or have accomplished. Jas.roth 01:21, January 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • If greatness is not something that can not be defined, how can we constantly strive for it? Does that require us to ask those around us how they want us to be great to them? I pose these questions, though I do not know as if I can even answer them. As cheesy as it may sound, I think we should keep in mind the childhood quote of "do one to others, as you would want one to do to you". Breuerc 04:31, January 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • I completely agree with the message being explained here. The idea of greatness has almost become synonymous with celebrity. Although I am a huge sports fan, perhaps Obama said it best in his State of the Union speech when he explained that it is time for children to not applaud and indulge in the accomplishments of the winner of the Superbowl as much as those of the winner of the science fair. AlecWeiss 17:55, January 26, 2011 (UTC)

January 26Edit

Emerson: Self ExpressionEdit

The breadth of the problem is great, for the poet is representative. He stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the common wealth. The young man reveres men of genius, because, to speak truly, they are more himself than he is. They receive of the soul as he also receives, but they more. Nature enhances her beauty, to the eye of loving men, from their belief that the poet is beholding her shows at the same time. He is isolated among his contemporaries by truth and by his art, but with this consolation in his pursuits, that they will draw all men sooner or later. For all men live by truth and stand in need of expression. In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret. The man is only half himself, the other half is his expression.

(The Literature Page)

Sheehan: Our Hidden SelfEdit

Consider trying to write an in depth analysis of a story, by only glancing at the cover and then skimming through some of the beginning pages. This task would be nearly impossible. The same is true when judging or making a concrete impression about someone that we only have seen once. When we look at someone we only know half of his story. The reality is, only half of who we are is showcased to the world at all times. We choose what to share, and control how much to let everyone in. By choosing activities that we love we can display parts of our inner self and express what the world cannot originally see. We all do this in different ways. For example, a poet may choose certain words to express his feelings, while an athlete may express his attitudes by his determination and practice habits. Sheehank 20:49, January 24, 2011 (UTC)


  • I really like the analogies you put in here. They really help get your point across. Your passion on this topic shines through your writing and it really makes this paragraph fun to read. I am enthralled and wish you were able to write more on the topic. For improvements, I would say use more factual evidence or possibly even old sayings, for example: "You can't judge a book by its cover." I think that would make this a really strong paragraph. --Cher G 05:42, January 25, 2011 (UTC)
  • Each one of us is such a complex unique being, of course no one can show all of who they are in any one moment. The longer you know someone the more snapshots of their many inner characteristics you may get to see, and the more we can understand them. I really liked how you introduced your aphorism, you caught my attention right away. i think this is a very fascinating topic to write about, and for centuries countless people have been striving to understand what makes up our inner selves. Jas.roth 01:52, January 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • Personally, I believe the percentage that someone actually sees depends on the person. There are some people who try to express themselves and reveal a great deal to the rest of society by being and looking eccentric. However, there are others who may try to fly under the radar and may act as though they don't want others to talk with them; this may be reflective of inner feelings. Therefore, I believe people can fluctuate how much they let others understand them and get to know them just by meeting them once. Breuerc 04:51, January 26, 2011 (UTC)

Johnson: We Are Our ActionsEdit

To some degree, we are all poets. We all receive and interpret our surroundings. Our interpretations play a significant role in helping us define who we are, and what we believe. More important though, is what we make of our findings. If a person goes through life unchanging, not learning from their experiences or those of others, they are hardly a person. What defines us is how we live out in action who we are. How we express ourselves. Our thoughts and feelings are exclusive to us if we do not articulate them in some way. In order for our surroundings to understand us as we are, we must give them the opportunity through expression. Kinzjohnson 17:35, January 26, 2011 (UTC)


  • As we grow we mature and develop as human beings. We learn how to act around others and how to engage in social activities and personal matters. This knowledge is not bestowed upon us at birth however, it must be obtained through trail and error. We must learn from out actions in order to better ourselves and prevent mistakes from reoccurring. We must look to our past to brighten our future. After all, It was Edison who said "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work."AlecWeiss 17:50, January 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • Change is most indeed an important part of human development. Without it, we are lacking at the new ideas that are out there and we do not keep up with our own potential. If you allow yourself to go outside your norms, there is a whole new world for you. If you allow yourself to be uncomfortable for once, you may find something out about yourself that you would have never imagined. Change can be quite scary, but it is most certainly necessary. Breuerc 20:22, January 31, 2011 (UTC)

Ziemba: Emotional JourneysEdit

  • I have always been the type of person who is very emotional. When I see that someone is going through a tough time, I cannot separate their pain from my own, and I therefore take their emotions on as if I was going through the same situation they are. There have been many a night where my mother has consoled me on a problem that I heard about at school, or perhaps a friend of a friend has a sick grandparent. For some reason, I just cannot separate my own pain from the pain of others. I have always looked at this trait as a bit of a curse. I wish that I could somehow forge a wedge between my real feelings and those of others in my mind. When I truly think about it though, do I really want to? Sure, I spend many nights tossing and turning over the problems of others that I have taken on (and problems that I therefore can never truly solve), but at least I can say that I honestly understand what someone is going through. While a person may seem hard and tough on the outside, the ability to feel what they are feeling for even a split second allows me to see that we are all only human, and the tears of one person are the same for another.KZiemba34 19:52, January 26, 2011 (UTC)


  • You have a very special ability that helps you tune into people's emotions, and at times I'm sure it is a horrid curse. One you are unable to do anything about, but I think you have understood, and I completely agree, that being in tune with other people's emotions helps you understand what they are looking for when they are unhappy or happy. Being able to understand the emotional side of people is a talent very few master, or care to concern themselves with, which is why I have gained a great amount of respect for you. As for critiquing, I would say that everything looks good. Maybe give an example of a specific experience, without names, and how it changed you. Other than that, it's a really well written paragraph.--Cher G 21:43, February 1, 2011 (UTC)

January 27Edit

Emerson: ConformityEdit

For nature, who abhors mannerism, has set her heart on breaking up all styles and tricks, and it is so much easier to do what one has done before, than to do a new thing, that there is a perpetual tendency to a set mode. In every conversation, even the highest, there is a certain trick, which may be soon learned by an acute person, and then that particular style continued indefinitely. Each man, too, is a tyrant in tendency, because he would impose his idea on others; and their trick is their natural defence. Jesus would absorb the race; but Tom Paine or the coarsest blasphemer helps humanity by resisting this exuberance of power.

"Nominalist and Realist"

Breuer: StrangerEdit

Meeting someone you have never seen before can be an often daunting task and is very nerve racking for many people. However, when two humans come together for the first time and they relate their own personal experiences and lives, there is a unique click that is truly human. To feel such an instant bond to someone that knows nothing about you and vice versa is a powerful feeling and it is strictly caused by recollection of memories. Memories being a beautiful rope that can tie together lives like no other. Breuerc 03:23, January 28, 2011 (UTC)


  • This is very true, and very beautifully written. It's very strange to think that you and your best friend were at one time complete and total strangers that bonded over some instance, but of course that is what happens. I also agree that memories can be very powerful with respect to meeting people. A person will obviously forge a greater connexion with someone if they have had similar experiences. E Waterman 17:54, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • Thinking about these kinds of human interactions is so crazy. Especially if you think about those short encounters you have with people like on the subway and never meet again; its interesting to think about what could've been, what if you exchanged numbers and became the best of friends? Its also fun to think about the people who are close to you now and reminisce how you first met. For the most part these interactions are not "hit or miss" and can happen anytime, it just depends on your outlook of different people. 19:10, January 28, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by HQu (talkcontribs)
  • Is it possible to really get know another person? Are we all simply strangers to one another and share nothing more in common than just a time and place? While strange to think about, I wonder if it is truly possible to know yourself, and therefore others. Maybe even our most intimate relationships in life are just basic interactions that we need for survival. DEDELMAN 19:30, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • Personally this is one of my favorite quotes of Emerson. It is very real and deep. I like how you expand on the experience of meeting someone for the first time and the truth of your post makes it relatable to those who read it. Tying the concept of memories to this topic is interesting. I do not quite understand it because usually when you meet someone you do not have any memories with them yet. Instead, I would have liked to see you talk about the connections formed when you first meet someone. What do you discuss when you first meet someone? Why do make the effort to meet someone new? Sheehank 03:20, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree that meeting a stranger and forming a connection is one of the greatest things we can do as human beings, and probably one most of us don't do enough. Beneath the surface, everyone has interesting stories, experiences, and ideas to share, and sometimes it just simply is a matter of taking the time to get to know someone and discover those things. I really liked your last line about the memories being the rope that ties us together, very well said. Kinzjohnson 17:22, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • I think that this is such a beautifully written entry. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and meet someone new, making you slightly nervous because you are exposing who you are and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I have always been the type who loves meeting new people, but I must admit that I always get slightly anxious about what someone's first impression will be of me. Of course, if someone judges me based on my appearance or what I am wearing, then I could care less whether they like me or not- people like they are not "true friend material" anyway. I suppose the real test is whether or not this new person wishes to see you again. For that is how the true human connection is formed. I liked that the writer touched on the idea of memories, because I know that when I meet someone new, even if I have never seen them before, I instantly think make a connection to someone I knew in the past. Of course, no two people are the same, but the comfort that lies in finding similarities helps to strengthen new bonds. KZiemba34 19:19, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • It is true that humans can easily bond over something that is similar in their past, but I believe the main question is for how long. They can have a conversation that could last a few minutes to a few days, but will it keep them together? Also, is this memory good or bad. I feel as though that is important. If the memory is good then those strangers will be happier as friends, where as if the memory is bad or sad then the two people will feed off of each other's desperation to fix the problem and stay in a sadder mindset rather than build into a happier one. Yes, memory can bind two strangers together, but depending on the memory is that what people really need?--Cher G 21:37, February 1, 2011 (UTC)

Gordon: Way to be OriginalEdit

Originality has gotten harder as time passes on. Books have the same plot with different characters, movies are taken from books, and there is always a tune you can hum a hundred songs to. To truly come up with an original idea is not only rare, but sometimes it is stunted. When in elementary, middle, or even high school students are no longer encouraged to think outside the box. They are taught a certain way of thinking about things and rarely do they question it, and when they do question it the teacher usually refuses to answer. It's quite the process. I personally understand what it is like to have my ideas shot down simply because they did not match what my teacher's did. This idea of originality is slowly but surely being taken away because people are not used to the ideas.--Cher G 21:34, January 27, 2011 (UTC)


  • I agree with you that originality is much harder to come by now. With so many ideas already out in the world, it isn't that surprising that it's so difficult to create new ones. I don't really agree with you when you say that the "idea of originality is slowly but surely being taken away...." I don't think that people are losing the concept of originality. There certainly are artists and writers and many people who strive to be as creative and original as possible. I do believe that originality is still something that people try for, but something much harder to obtain now. E Waterman 17:54, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree wholeheartedly with you, Cher! I guess at first that is all our thinking, that so many ideas have already been used up. But as much as I hope that ideas and thoughts are the one infinite resource known to us, it certainly does seem like we're running out. Hopefully we're just plateauing as a whole, and can break through soon enough. 19:23, January 28, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by HQu (talkcontribs)
  • Many societal theorists argue that it is not individuals themselves who create ideas, but their environment that provides the grounds for such ideas to come about. Therefore, it is not so much of crediting a person with an idea, but an environment. That said, I can only wonder if ideas are truly our own original thoughts, but products of our environment.DEDELMAN 19:33, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • Ahh! I did not realize this before, but you are so correct! There have been so many discoveries and ideas before us that it is becoming almost impossible (or maybe not necessary) for our generation to create new ideas. This loss of a talent will become a problem in the years ahead of us. People will lose skills that once were necessary for surviving in society. Hopefully the tables turn and we do not lose our originality. It would be a shame to be conformed into all the same people. Being different is good and we need to express that. Sheehank 03:28, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • This is a very different and interesting take, and I really enjoyed reading it. I agree that our society is often unwillingly to listen to ideas that are outside of the norm. It is easy to discard anything that challenges your beliefs or the things you are accustomed to. We only grow though, when we open ourselves up to change and expose ourselves to that which is different. Kinzjohnson 17:25, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • First off, Cher I absolutely LOVE the title that you chose for this aphorism! I think that the title is so important to represent your writing, and it is also the first thing to draw your readers in, so bravo on making such a witty title! I agree with Kelly in saying that there are so many ideas out there that it may even be "unnecessary" to create new ones. While this may be frustrating to the young minds of today, I look at it as a challenge. Just as these aphorism projects are assigned to give us the opportunity to expand upon Emerson's ideas with our own thoughts, maybe the world simply needs people to critique and improve old ideas. While we may agree with what has already been said, there are always ways to make improvements. KZiemba34 19:19, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • Originality, in my own opinion, is not dead, it is not always swept under the carpet; originality is still alive and well. Look at all the new ideas people are coming up with for new computer programs, new websites, Facebook! Our generation is constantly coming up with new and original thoughts. It may not be in the traditional form of literature or in movies, but think about the mass media and how it is constantly changing. Everything is in 3D, we have cutting edge technology that WE are making. You personally may not be putting together the lengths of code, but someone is, based upon your wants and desires. Our generation is starting to design new equipment, new medicines, new technology, new ideas! Politics are already changing based upon our generations new way of life. We are original in that we, as a generation, are trying to care more for the environment. Politicians see young voters, that care and want to do good in the world; this is originality! We are original, we are working towards forging our name in the history books as being game changers, that is originality.Breuerc 20:16, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • The argument that true inspiration is impossible can also be taken into consideration here. We base everything we know off of experience and no idea is possible to generate without a contributing factor. Thought is contagious and learning is the compilation of thought which influence our daily mental processing. Thus ideas are formed through the experiences we have and are impossible to be spontaneous. Where there is seed there is no blossom. AlecWeiss 19:07, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

Roth: Creatures of HabitEdit

As human beings we are creatures of habit. Even the most spontaneous person, has some routine in their lives. Despite the fact that we may be open-minded individuals, eager to engage in new experiences, we sit in the same seats in our classroom everyday. Our daily lives are filled with countless habits, routines, rituals that we perform without a second thought. It may be interesting to ask yourself, "why do I do the things I do? Why do I pattern my behavior like this?" I'm not saying this is a necessarily a bad thing, but an intriguing glimpse at human nature. It seems that through patterning our behavior into routines, we create a sense of order, and this order provides comfort. This comfort brings us stability, which allows us to have some balance in a hectic world. Jas.roth 04:02, January 28, 2011 (UTC)


  • I thought this was incredibly interesting! I know that I am certainly ruled by my habits, and that my day is totally messed up if I follow a different routine. However, the questions that you asked were ones that I've never considered before--but now am considering very much. I definitely agree with you: routines create order, which bring us comfort and stability. A very well-thought out aphorism with some unique insight. E Waterman 17:54, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • Structure is very important in our lives and is mostly what defines us as people. What we do as ritual everyday is important in defining who we are. Although the stability and comfort offered by structure and habit can be stifling sometimes, once its taken away we are lost. We don't know what to do and instead will just fritter away this newfound time as opposed to going back to our usual productive habits. QuH149.106.192.131 19:27, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • There is a reason why it is often noted that human beings are "creatures of habit." I agree with you that it is our daily routines that provide us with our needed comfort and security. I can relate to this personally as whenever my routine is accidentally disrupted, by for example, sleeping though a class or something similar, I am often sparked with nerve. I do not think that this is simply due to the fact that I could be penalized for missing the class itself, but because I cannot temporarily rely on the comforts of my daily routine to let me know of what to expect during the day. DEDELMAN 19:37, January 28, 2011 (UTC)
  • Very interesting response! I would have liked to hear why you do the things you do. Why do you think comfort is so necessary in how we live our lives? You mention that having a strict routine is not a bad thing, but do you think it could be? Sorry for all the questions! This post just made me very curious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sheehank (talkcontribs)
  • Though some may get comfort from living a near hypnotic lifestyle, others recognize this as being a most uncomfortable way to live your life. Some people like to step out of that monotonous daily routine and change things up. The magician Wayne Hoffman mentioned when he was on campus that often people go on their lives doing habitual things. He spoke about when people are in the shower they have the same exact routine and if they forget whether or not they missed something, they just start all over again. When thought about in this sense, it makes you want to start with your toes in the shower rather than your head. Breuerc 20:06, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • I feel like there are two types of people in the world; those who follow a plan and those who just go with the flow. For example my father eats lunch at exactly 12 noon everyday and if our plans get changed at the last minute he gets very frustrated. On the other hand, my friends and I change our plans multiple times before finalizing them or do not make a plan at all. Some people need structure in their lives, others do not. Sheehank 03:37, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • I really reading this. I actually think about this a lot: how mechanical our lives are and have been. I agree with what you said, that routine often offers a sense of comfort and stability. In the same respect, things that were once magical and fun often lose their spark once they become too routine. I think it is important to maintain a sense of stability in life but also continually expand your horizons and do something new everyday, even if its seemingly insignificant. Kinzjohnson 17:28, January 31, 2011 (UTC)
  • I absolutely love how you tackled this aphorism. I completely agree that we as humans are creatures of comfort, and it is that stability that honestly keeps me sane throughout the day. When I was younger, I had a member of my family who was sick, so therefore my life, and the lives of those in my family, was very uncertain and was was controlled by doctor's visits and how her health was holding up on that day. I have always been able to handle that part being uncontrollable in my life, but in other aspects of my life I have always been pretty controlling. I like my routines and schedules, but on the occasion that someone unexpected happens, or something doesn't go as planned, I am unable to handle it. I consider that my biggest flaw. I rely so much on routine and control that when I cannot control a situation I do not have the capabilities to handle it. KZiemba34 19:19, January 31, 2011 (UTC)

Qu: What to do.Edit

Obviously humans are creatures of habit. But there is also a part of us that craves variety and wants to experience the spices in life. Is there an even split in us between the part that likes structure and the part that craves variety? Or is it that each person is individually dominated by a certain part. If so then is there an even split amongst humans between the "boring" people and those who go out and like to do things differently each time? 00:39, February 1, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by HQu (talkcontribs)

  • I like the idea's you present about a stability that creates comfort, but I wonder what your thoughts on that are. Do you think that it is good to have this routine where we exactly what we're going to do and how we are going to do it? Or should we change things up a bit to create a better idea of how to handle things if, or when, something changes that routine. On the other hand, we all have to change our routine sometime. From semester to semester in high school, and in this case trimesters in college. We orient ourselves into an idea of routine, but do we ever really have a fixed routine that we will never give up? I think the ideas you present can definitely be studied and broadened to further lengths.--Cher G 21:49, February 1, 2011 (UTC)
  • We form habits because we are geared to psychologically. We subconsciously take in detail of the world throughout our lives and just as that form of learning is inherent so too our the daily processes we call habitual. As we This is how we function at the most basic level and how our lives are capable of productivity. Imagine a world where these daily routines didn't exist; it would one of certain disorder. Without these daily rituals our lives are not as manageable. Sitting in the same spot in a class allows for the mind to gain comfort in an environment and allows for better thought process. AlecWeiss 19:03, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

February 2Edit

Emerson: LoveEdit

I delighted myself on Friday with my quite domesticated position & the good understanding that grew all the time, yet I went & came without one vehement word—or one passionate sign. In this was nothing of design, I merely surrendered myself to the hour & to the facts. I find a sort of grandeur in the modulated expressions of a love in which the individuals, & what might seem even reasonable personal expectations, are steadily postponed to a regard for truth & the universal love. Do not think me a metaphysical lover. I am a man & hate & suspect the over refiners, & do sympathize with the homeliest pleasures & attractions by which our good foster mother Nature draws her children together. Yet am I well pleased that between us the most permanent ties should be the first formed & thereon should grow whatever others human nature will.

Letter to his wife, February 1, 1835

Johnson: The Greatest of ConnectionsEdit

As just about everyone knows, love is a great theme in most human life. Beyond all other aspirations of fame, success, wealth, power, etc., just about everyone desire to love and be loved in return. A lot of the love in the world could go by other names: lust, infatuation, etc., but when love does exist it is arguably the greatest connection that can take place between two human beings. It is the ability to be completely exposed and vulnerable between two people, and care for one another as if they were part of you. It grows and strengthens over time, and does not deplete or act selfishly. Although love is by no means perfect, it is the ability to compromise and work for another person, and to confront your own shortcomings in order to salvage the connection between you two. Love has the power to form the strongest connection between humans, we just have to value it for all it is. Kinzjohnson 15:36, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

  • This is a really beautiful aphorism. I really like the way you define what love is. I found it interesting that you said love is not perfect, but also talk about the greatness, unselfishness, and power of love. With all these great attributes, love in itself seems perfect, right? But can anything be truly perfect? What is perfection? Maybe true, altruistic, love in is perfect, but because of human imperfection love does not appear to ever reach perfection in our world. I don't have an answer, but this just made me think. Jas.roth 22:56, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

Sheehan: PassionEdit

Whether we realize it or not, passion is everywhere in our lives. Therefore, the absence of passion in our lives could cause ill results. For example when learning in the classroom if one has an enthusiasm and desire for learning he will get more out of the lesson than one who is disengaged and not interested. Passion lets one reach his full potential and express his inner emotions. It is the same in athletics: It is usually the most enthralled and excited athlete that will dedicate himself to the sport and succeed. Passion is hidden behind all of our motives. We do things we enjoy and have a passion for. Our passions define who we are and make us unique, driving us to achieve our own personal goals. 16:22, February 2, 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sheehank (talkcontribs)

  • You make a great point about the importance of passion. I think a life lived without passion would be utterly dull and boring. Your aphorism reminded me of one of my english teachers in high school. In this class one of the main themes that came up in the literature we read throughout the year was Passion Vs. Reason. Whether we were reading Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, Gullivers Travels or Antony and Cleopatra my teacher tied it back to characters being motivated between passion, reason or the conflict between two. The resolution was always that there need to be a balace between the two. Passion is what ignites our hearts and minds, inspires us, evokes deep emotions in us, but on its own can lead to self-destuction (ie Madame Bovary). Reason on its own is never good either, but the balance of the two can create a stable happy life. Jas.roth 23:20, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

Ziemba: Isn't Life Lovely?Edit

Love is quite possibly the most powerful emotion in any living being. Whether man or animal, love fuels passion, desire, and even hatred. Look at the television shows that people flock to; each one has some sort of love undertones. Love is in our songs, books, magazines, and plastered on advertisements, therefore, there must be something that is drawing us in. Why do we love? Love is something that we do not need to survive, but we need it to create a meaningful life. All types of love are different: the love of your parents, family, and friends, your first love that led to your first heartbreak, and eventually that ultimate love that seems to make time stand still. Of course, I am the romantic type, admitting that I cannot think of a time when I have not swooned over the very idea of love, but what is wrong with loving love? We all do, we just do it in different ways. Love is something that one cannot control, and when someone tries to control it (force it, make it happen for the wrong reasons, etc.), that is when it fails. Forced love is not true love. It's just the filler until that person walks into your life, and, though he or she may not be what you had always imagined, it somehow works. Try and fail with love, and remember that there is always more to give. KZiemba34 19:48, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

  • Love is such a broad term that we use to talk about so many different situations and emotions. I like that you mention love of parents, family, friends, and of corse romantic love. Although, I agree that you cannot force love, I do believe love is an action verb, not something that just happens to you, or that you fall into. By this I mean that you can choose to love someone, in the same way you choose to reach out to someone, you can choose to actively give love to another person. Jas.roth 23:26, February 2, 2011 (UTC)

February 3Edit

Emerson: ReflectionEdit

When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, and when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty. Behind us, as we go, all things assume pleasing forms, as clouds do far off...for it is only the finite that has wrought and suffered; the infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.

Spiritual Laws

Breuer: LifeEdit

Often times, people go on their lives with the blinders on, blazing their path as a fire does through a forest. They know a scarred trails is immediately behind them so they do not take the time to glance over their shoulder. If these people would be willing to finally turn their head over the arch of their clavicle, they would notice in the midst of the scarred entrails, there is beautiful new growth; lush and green -this is the good they have brought to the world without even knowing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Breuerc (talkcontribs)