A foolish consistency

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. โ€” ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ โ€” Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 โ€“ 1882)

28 thoughts on “A foolish consistency”

  1. This I understand. It reminds me of a quote I heard awhile ago, by a contemporary artist. If everyone likes your work, you are playing it safe. Something to that effect. Thank you for this share.

  2. appreciate knowing that being misunderstood is so commonplace ๐Ÿ™‚

    good to know you are safe, those poor families in the high rise!

          1. so sad that we can’t abide in peace … live and let live … violence means nobody wins and we must all hang our heads in shame …

  3. Love that! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, it reminds me of Walt Whitmanโ€™s โ€œDo I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudesโ€

  4. I see his point. But the reason for changing one’s mind needs to be taken into account. It is not wise or pure to change one’s mind because of corruption or bribery. It is not wise or pure to be misunderstood because one deliberately obfuscates. I am, of course, thinking of people in power. But I agree that changing one’s mind should not be immediately criticised. There are occasions where it IS noble and humble to do so and it seems the media deliberately misunderstands when those occasions are.

  5. Ah yes, this is it! Isn’t it. Every dang day, if we’re so lucky, David… every dang day. :)) xoxo ๐Ÿ’–

  6. Legends in our own minds! Scorned by the masses. Such is our existence. But will our stories ever be known? Maybe someday. You hear me Socrates?! Don’t drink!

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