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I have a dream - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
I have a dream
Still on the subject of dreams:

I finally found the quote (I knew I'd written it down somewhere) that best expresses what my "dream" is, what "success" means to me -- or rather, what it means when I'm actually honest with myself about what I think matters, when I don't allow myself to be made to feel useless by richer, cleverer, or just plain louder people:


"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
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bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: March 13th, 2003 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
That's it exactly!

That's lovely - what's it from? Or is it just one of those aphorisms that don't actually come from anything in particular?
j4 From: j4 Date: March 13th, 2003 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't actually know where it's from, I just found it while looking for something else ages ago... But I went to have a look for it, and mostly just found it in lists of quotes (sometimes even lists of Emerson's "quotes", as if he only wrote quotes...). I also found a page which suggested that the attribution was inaccurate, which given the total lack of citations seems increasingly likely. I also can't find it in Literature Online (although we have quite a lot of Emerson's works, which I may read later if I get bored...).

Ah well. If anybody can shed any light on its origins, I'd be delighted; but I still like the sentiment even if it was written by some complete unknown for a greetings-card or a twee little poster with pictures of flowers, rabbits, and/or footprints. :)
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: March 13th, 2003 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a darn fine list to me.

It also sounds terribly open-ended. I'm not sure whether it would be useful to declare there to be an "enough" point - whether it would be better to continually strive for more and more of these good things, or ever to declare that you have achieved enough of them to be satisfying. (And, if you ever did reach this "enough" point, what would you do next?)

Do you realise just how well you are doing at these things? There's always room for more and sometimes it might be easier and more natural to focus on the things that you haven't done - haven't yet done! - but you've come a long way along those journeys.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 13th, 2003 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)
It also sounds terribly open-ended. I'm not sure whether it would be useful to declare there to be an "enough" point - whether it would be better to continually strive for more and more of these good things, or ever to declare that you have achieved enough of them to be satisfying.

I think I'd go for "keep striving to do them" rather than "keep striving to do more of them", if you see what I mean. It's an ongoing way of life, rather than a thing you can tick off and say "right, done that".

Do you realise just how well you are doing at these things?

Well, I laugh a lot. Sometimes I even manage to stop before the men in white coats haul me away. :-}

Seriously, though... I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing okay at these things ... and then the only problem is trying to keep believing that these things are worthwhile when I'm surrounded by people who are publishing ground-breaking novels, composing symphonies, writing useful software, curing cancer, etc. -- and most of them can do all the generic fluffy Being Nice To People stuff and achieve Great Things, whereas I can only intermittently manage the Being Nice To People, and I do nothing useful or creative or interesting.

The rest of the time I feel like every time I open my mouth, somebody tells me I'm evil and shouldn't be allowed to live. (This mostly happens on usenet, though.)
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: March 13th, 2003 08:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Remember the ray that beams over Cambridge? I think on some people its effects might have been permanent ...
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: March 13th, 2003 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
What's the icon?
j4 From: j4 Date: March 13th, 2003 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Badgers. :)
From: ex_lark_asc Date: March 13th, 2003 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
AOL, big time. Emerson has some fantastic quotes.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2003 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
... Except it doesn't appear to be by him at all, sadly. :-/

There are certainly lots of good quotes all over the web which are attributed (without any supporting citations) to Emerson... I think I still prefer Anon.'s works, though. :)
ewx From: ewx Date: March 13th, 2003 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I respect and appreciate you, and I'll leave it up to you to decide whether I'm intelligent people and/or honest critics l-)
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