Ralph Waldo Emerson was a renowned 19th-century American essayist, philosopher, lecturer, poet, and a leader of the transcendental philosophical movement. His literature influenced many celebrated writers, including Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Emerson is most famous for his essays, through which he expresses ideas of freedom, spirituality, individuality, the great ability of humans to realize almost everything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Ralph Waldo Emerson traveled widely, giving lectures and became well known for his publications “Essays” and “Nature.” Today, we will read a selection from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, entitled “Spiritual Laws.” In it, the philosopher reflects on the precious gift of each person’s vocation, which plays an important role in the unfolding of one’s spiritual life.
“Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion. He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea. This talent and this call depend on his organization, or the mode in which the general soul incarnates itself in him. He inclines to do something which is easy to him, and good when it is done, but which no other man can do. He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit, from the work of any other. His ambition is exactly proportioned to his powers. The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base.”