Liberal Arts Blog — Orion of Concord — Quotes from Thoreau (5) and Emerson (2)

Liberal Arts Blog — Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Religion, and Culture Day

Today’s Topic: Orion of Concord — Quotes from Thoreau (5) and Emerson (2)

What is most worth remembering about Concord Massachusetts? Well, there is the “shot heard round the world.” What happened? Well, a bunch of “patriots” standing on a hill outside of town saw smoke rising from their town and concluded (reasonably) that the British were burning down their town. This was in fact fake news even though they saw it with their own eyes. Moral of the story: check and cross check any news before you start provoking a shoot out or yelling and screaming or whatever. What else is worth remembering about Concord? Well, the great writers of course, starting with Thoreau and Emerson. Today, an “Orion” of the quotes most worth remembering (in order). Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE CENTRAL BELT — Simplicity (Alnilam), Truth (Alnitak), The Big Choice (Mintaka)

#1 “Simplify! Simplify!” (Thoreau) — More full quote: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” My spin on this is the combination of The Rule of One, the Rule of Three, the Rule of Seven with this holy trinity incarnated in the seven star configuration above.

#2 “Rather than love, than fame, than money, give me truth.” (Thoreau)

#3 “Do not go where there is a path instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Emerson)

THE TWO UPPER STARS — Quiet Desperation (Betelgeuse) and Short Sentences (Bellatrix)

#4 “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (Thoreau) Can this be fixed? How? I’ve got a plan….what’s yours?

#5 “You must work very long to write short sentences.” (Thoreau) The “less is more” thing is big! Best book ever written? Aesop’s Fables (so far).

THE TWO LOWER STARS: The best books (Saiph) and Failure (Rigel)

#6 “Read the best books first or you may never have a chance to read them at all.” (Thoreau) Think like an economist! Tempus fugit! It’s the job of the educational system to identify them and make sure they are read before students have a right to vote! How are we doing? What do you think?

#7 “Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail.” (Emerson) How many times was it that Ford, Edison, and the Wright Brothers failed before they succeeded? Have you ever tried to juggle three balls? Nietzche nailed it: “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Who was Nietzhche’s go-to guy? Ralph of course. Kelly Clarkson gets it. Kanye West, too. Emerson rocks! Emerson rules! Hear the echoes!

POST SCRIPT — a request

Have you made an “Orion” yet? If so, please share. If not, give it a go about something that matters a lot to you. Then, if moved, please share.

Henry David Thoreau Quotes (Author of Walden)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes (Author of Self-Reliance and Other Essays)

What does not kill me makes me stronger — Wikipedia

Nietzsche’s First Man: Ralph Waldo Emerson | Merion West


#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20Last four years of posts organized thematically:

Here is a link to the last four years of posts organized by theme: (including the book on foreign policy)

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to words, language, literature, religion, culture. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to Words, Language, Literature (eg. quotes, poetry, vocabulary) that you have not yet shared.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.


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