Quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

So all that is said of the wise man by Stoic or Oriental or modern essayist, describes to each reader his own idea, describes his unattained but attainable self.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "History," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).

Here Emerson links notions of self-realization and reading, and in so doing, summarizes his philosophy of education. The philosopher Stanley Cavell has characterized this idea as "nextness," meaning that Emerson is continually in search of that perfect self which lies just next to our present selves and toward which we turn to become. Finding the right representative, whether it be a person or a text, is essential for this Emersonian type of growth.
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