Or, rather, it is a harpoon hurled at the whale, unwinding, as it flies, a coil of cord in the boat, and if the harpoon is not good, or not well thrown, it will go nigh to cut the steersman in twain, or to sink the boat. Once you read this essay, you will wish to read it once again just to understand its real meaning. The world globes itself in a drop of dew. He may soon come to see that he had better have broken his own bones than to have ridden in his neighbour’s coach, and that “the highest price he can pay for a thing is to ask for it. Our property is timid, our laws are timid, our cultivated classes are timid. Browse all BookRags Study Guides.

Has he therefore outwitted the law? The league between virtue and nature engages all things to assume a hostile front to vice. This law writes the laws of cities and nations. However, I have yet to explain my conception of what wisdom entails and how it applies to social compensation. Aurora forgot to ask youth for her lover, and though Tithonus is immortal, he is old.

The beautiful laws and substances of the world persecute and whip the traitor. For every human defect, there is a compensating trait; for every profit a corresponding loss; for every action a reaction.

Compensation (essay) – Wikipedia

All this is going for money. Why, that they can do now.

emersons essay on compensation summary

It makes no difference whether the actors be many or one, a tyrant or a mob. There is no stunning confutation of his nonsense before men and angels.

In fact, you have to because that is what The Law of Compensation.

Compensation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

His wit,–if it cannot be made mine, it is not wit. This is the realization that all hardships emersoms be overcome, and the ability to overcome these hardships can be called resilience. I no longer wish to meet a good I do not earn, for example, to find a pot of buried gold, knowing that it brings with it new burdens.


Second Series was published, and subsequent republishings of Essays were renamed Essays: Once you read this essay, you will wish to read it once again just to understand its real meaning.

We feel defrauded of the retribution due to evil acts, because the criminal adheres to his vice and contumacy, and does not come to a crisis or judgment anywhere in visible nature. Exteriority Beyond the Spirit of Revenge. I learn the wisdom of St. If I feel overshadowed and outdone by great neighbours, I can yet love; I can still receive; and he that loveth maketh his own the grandeur he loves.

We are to see that which man was tending to do in a given period, and was hindered, or, if you will, modified in doing, by the interfering volitions of Phidias, of Dante, of Shakspeare, the organ whereby man at the moment wrought.

I object to the idea that Emerson believed in a material compensation; if he did, he acknowledges that material compensation is only a sign of these other emedsons of compensation.

Short Summary of “Compensation” Essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson

You cannot recall the spoken word, you cannot wipe out the foot-track, you cannot draw up the ladder, so as to leave no inlet or clew. As the Sandwich Islander believes that the strength and valor of the enemy emersosn kills passes into himself, so we gain the strength of the temptation we resist.

How much time do you spend on it? The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed. In fact, the concept of compensation is itself not a horribly ridiculous proposition. The first aspect of wisdom and the individual aspect of the compensation for experience, onn resilience. Emerons can have no money but still have a clean house. There is a crack in every thing God has made. Thank you for the clear explanation.


The absolute balance of Give and Take, the doctrine that every thing has its price,–and if that price is not paid, not that thing but something else is obtained, and that it is impossible to get any thing without its price,–is not less sublime in the columns of a leger than in the budgets of states, in the laws of light and darkness, in all the action and reaction of nature. The same guards which protect us from disaster, defect, and enmity, defend us, if we will, from selfishness and fraud.

The soul says, Eat; the body would feast.

emersons essay on compensation summary

As no man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hindrances or talents of men, until he has suffered from the one, and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of compensahion same.

You are commenting using your WordPress. Compensation Summary and Analysis Appearances to the contrary not withstanding, the natural, spiritual and human realms achieve a stasis or balance between positive and negative essxy, Emerson observes.

Compensation (essay)

What I need is the establishment of a conception of compensation that is more familiar to human perception and that also manifests in different forms from different experiences that allows for each man to attain their individual compensation. With every influx of light comes new danger. On the other hand, the law holds with equal sureness for all right action.