To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and
the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics and
to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others; To give one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
To know that even one life has
breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
My high school art teacher introduced me to this quote and I have kept it with me ever since. However, I have just recently discovered that there is a debate whether this quote was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Turns out the quote may be traceable to a 1905 publication. Apparently, in a collection of quotations on “success,” a poem by Bessie Stanley appeared facing a page with a quotation from Emerson. Perhaps the mistaken attribution began when someone copied the source inaccurately from that collection. Here’s a 1905 article from the Lincoln Sentinel about Bessie Stanley’s Famous Poem. (via transcendentalists.com)
This got me thinking about the ‘mind-link function’, as I like to call it. The idea that people across the world can tap into ideas and energy floating around and come up with the same or similar ideas once a particular idea is conceived by someone, somewhere! Sure you can’t find this quote in Emerson’s writings, and he damn well could have gotten credit for something he didn’t write, but who is to say the dude never said this, or something similar. And Miss Bessie, well I’m sure she wrote it too! The important thing is that we have the quote, and lots of other things that people have created, credited or not, and all these things make the world a bit better. It’s a little bit mind-link function and a lot bit of thinking! Throw in computers and things are just going to get straight up weiiiird.
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