110 ‘the idlest reverie, the faintest native emotion’


“Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, are not to be disputed. My wilful actions and acquisitions are but roving; – the idlest reverie, the faintest native emotion, command my curiosity and respect. Thoughtless people contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions, or rather much more readily; for, they do not distinguish between perception and notion. They fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. But perception is not whimsical, but fatal.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson mentioned in his essay titled, Self-Reliance

what Emerson is saying is that our voluntary perception that we readily share with people is an objective point of view, and we speak our minds of what is practical. we tend to hold back our truest thoughts and feelings about an issue that another part of our mind is truly feeling – our involuntary perception.

we stick to the safe zone, we ask questions or speak of what we think is safe that others may also be wondering or thinking of. “how long was this coffee brewed for” rather than plainly saying “it tastes like soil.”

in a society that listens closely to every written or spoken word; we are inclined to holding back our individuality (involuntary perception), sadly, causing our potential to be suppressed and we are limited to what our thoughts can blossom to be.

perception can’t be helped, it is conceived involuntarily. once you are exposed to something, you form your perception around it, so why hold back? if one takes offence when you have spoken your mind, it is simply because “they do not distinguish between perception and notion.” you are merely speaking your mind, but not imposing your perception unto them.

you see, we are naturally drawn to being self reliant. our self-consciousness have held us back into being reliant on what others have to feel or react to our thoughts. this topic can branch out to topics like judgement of opinions but well, i’m just highlighting what Emerson is trying to say about individual perceptions and being reliant on our own thoughts rather than satisfying the majority.

i guess it is how one is wired to think, it involves the effort of being careful of reacting to the spoken thoughts. well, cheers to a wandering reverie that we should be more welcoming and appreciative of i suppose!


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