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Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right. Options
Daemon
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
MTC
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:37:40 AM
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ESSAY VIII Heroism. (excerpt)

The hero is a mind of such balance that no disturbances can
shake his will, but pleasantly, and, as it were, merrily, he advances
to his own music, alike in frightful alarms and in the tipsy mirth of
universal dissoluteness. There is somewhat not philosophical in
heroism; there is somewhat not holy in it; it seems not to know that
other souls are of one texture with it; it has pride; it is the
extreme of individual nature. Nevertheless, we must profoundly
revere it. There is somewhat in great actions, which does not allow
us to go behind them. Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore
is always right
; and although a different breeding, different
religion, and greater intellectual activity would have modified or
even reversed the particular action, yet for the hero that thing he
does is the highest deed, and is not open to the censure of
philosophers or divines. It is the avowal of the unschooled man,
that he finds a quality in him that is negligent of expense, of
health, of life, of danger, of hatred, of reproach, and knows that
his will is higher and more excellent than all actual and all
possible antagonists.

http://www.emersoncentral.com/heroism.htm


Bully_rus
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 2:33:01 AM
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You can change heroism with foolishness and it will remain great quote as before. What a pleasant surprise!
nancyki
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 3:39:10 PM
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Location: USA
Any emotion could be substituted for heroism. Perhaps his point is merely that when emotion is at play, reason flies out the window. As in, there is no reasoning with someone who is caught up in emotion.
ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 4:18:46 PM
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Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore
is always right;

I would modify that statement to read 'often' rather than never. What about the brave person who knowingly risks their life to save another? There must have been many brave acts by folk who weighed the risks and took them in the face of death. Not all acts of bravery or heroism are taken in the heat of the moment without forethought.

Of course without first there is fear, there is no bravery.

But I agree that the thrust of the comment holds true. This is just my view.
MTC
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:44:39 PM
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Joined: 1/18/2011
Posts: 2,780
Neurons: 8,606

QU: Is there is something intellectually dishonest about inviting the world to react to a single sentence plucked from an essay of thousands of words as if that sentence stood alone?

Anyone who wants to know what Emerson meant should bestir themselves to read the entire essay on Heroism; an entire novel, maybe not, but an essay. yes. Otherwise, Quote of the Day becomes nothing more than an empty exercise in knee jerk reactions. Admittedly, though, it is a struggle wading through Emerson's dense rhetoric to extract his meaning.

After reading the essay, we might define terms: what did Emerson mean by "heroism" and "right?" Is it correct that "Heroism" (not the hero) "feels" and never reasons? And then the logic: why does it follow that because Heroism feels and never reasons, Heroism is always "right?"

jcbarros
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:27:03 PM

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When some heroics deeds come to my mind, such as the charges of the six hundreds in Balaclava or the polish cavalry against the german panzers in the WW II, I cannot help but think that too often, heroism and stupidity go shoulder to shoulder.
Verbatim
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 12:03:00 AM
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Daemon wrote:
Heroism feels and never reasons, and therefore is always right.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


The quotation is at first glance a splendid paradox. Of course, Emerson examined heroism as it relates to warlike endeavors, selfless acts worthy of glory, the nobleness
of deeds in ancient times-- among other things; all characterized by the quality found in a hero: "that is negligent of expense, of health, of life, of danger, of hatred, of reproach, and knows that his will is higher and more excellent than all actual and all possible antagonists." The quoted passage in Italics can be found thanks to MTC's trouble to provide context.

Perhaps what Emerson was saying, (and there is more of the same throughout the essay) was that heroism never reckons in a pondering, calculating manner--"there is somewhat not philosophical in heroism". (Nor something of accountancy, I daresay).
Italics are of text from the same excerpt as above.

And before that Emerson said:
"To this military attitude of the soul we give the name of Heroism. Its rudest form is the contempt for safety and ease, which makes the attractiveness of war".
The essay is not only rich in intellectual expression, general cultural knowledge--as one would expect from Emerson-- but above all, so aptly encompassing the many facets of heroism
that I cannot help but quote: "The temperance of the hero proceeds from the same wish to do no dishonor to the worthiness he has. But he loves it for its elegancy, not for its austerity."
Or this: "But that which takes my fancy most, in the heroic class, is the good-humor and hilarity they exhibit. It is a height to which common duty can very well attain, to suffer and to dare with solemnity."

But whether heroism is spontaneously sentiment-inspired or deliberate and reasoned out, that is a matter of circumstances as much as of that which prompted the heroic
act and behavior. In a sense it does not matter if feelings or reason inspired it, either way it entails someone's sacrifice of self, and not necessarily life and limb.
However, let us speak softly of bold heroism with courage behind it, for courage is fashioned by circumstance and individual motivation. Courage may, or may not, be there when we need it. Some circumstance will make it kick in. Some motivation will inspire it. Given the right mix, we unveil the inherent aptitude to face danger as we forget ( or get overwhelmed by ) our fear, momentarily, and act. Sometimes rashly?
Fortitude, on the other hand, the aptitude forged over time by endurance, in the presence of mindful thought which weighs every perilous step, every adversity, aware of the fear to act and conquering it day in, day out, as the bold deed unfolds in a deliberate way, that is the noble quality that bold heroism can loudly claim for its origin.



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