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what does these quote mean?
1.)"my life for itself and not for a spectacle"
2.)An institution is the lengthened shadow of a man.
3.) Life only avails, not the having lived.
4.) Insist on yourself; never imitate
Thanks for your help!

  • English -

    All of these quotes are from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    1. "I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, then that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding."
    -- Series I. Self-Reliance
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Emerson means that he wants to live a life that is true and meaningful to him. He doesn't want a public life that's for show and has no real purpose or reality.

    2.)An institution is the lengthened shadow of a man.
    Emerson seems to be referring to institutions such as colleges and universities. What do you think it means?

    3.) Life only avails, not the having lived.

    "Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that forever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside. ..."

    You may want to check the definition of avail.

    4.) Insist on yourself; never imitate.
    "Insist on yourself; never imitate... Every great man is unique."

    What do you think this means? We'll be glad to comment on your answers.

  • english -

    1. Genuine and equal.
    2. Institutions are usually *not* the shadows of one man alone, and great institutions, especially, are not. It honors the man, who made the institution possible.
    3. "Live in the present. The past is finished. Forget it and move on with your life."
    4. Every great man is unique.

  • english -

    Any interpretations will be particular to the individual who's interpreting them!! I'll tell you what #4 means to me, but remember, you might not agree.

    4.) Insist on yourself; never imitate

    Be yourself; don't bother to try to be someone else or what other people expect you to be.

    Now ... how about some guesses on what YOU THINK the others mean. Guess!! It certainly can't hurt.


  • english -

    thank you so much for your help! with your help i have tried to extend the explanation for each. Thank you so much once again!!!

  • English -

    You're very welcome. :-)

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