Being True To Oneself…
July 1, 2007
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Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way:
“The superior mind will find itself equally at odds with the evils of society and with the projects that are offered to relieve them. The wise skeptic is a bad citizen.
“No conservative, he sees the selfishness of property and the drowsiness of institutions. But neither is he fit to work with any political party that ever was constituted; for parties wish everyone committed and he penetrates popular patriotism.”
I found this in the Sunday Magazine section of the New York Times in an article by Daphne Merkin who, thinking about her non-conformist high school graduating daughter comments:
“I worry that her instinct to think for herself is as much a curse as a blessing – that she will … end up standing warily on the sidelines. Although as a culture we bemoan the perils of groupthink, it can be very cold once you have moved beyond the circle of warmth that is the reward for adding your voice to the collective chorus. We celebrate loners and visionaries, but we tend to do so only after the fact (of their ultimate success – which often doesn’t happen.)”
Along the same idea, this morning Doonesbury has a Senator looking desperately for his little American flag lapel pin. He explains to his wife that if anyone sees him without the pin, they will assume he is a terrorist sympathizer, unpatriotic, and non-supportive of our troops.
One wonders what would happen if one of our candidates decided not to wear one.
Being true to oneself can be a costly thing. It can separate us from much (and many) we hold dear.
It is also worth it.
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