“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now there’s a quote everyone should know… haha… Emerson is probably one of my favorite people to quote… even as I sometimes struggle to understand his essays… I love what he’s about… he wants everyone to question everything… even his own writings… I’ve been studying Transcendentalism… and it’s an interesting subject… Something that should really be looked into by everyone… I mean I was briefly taught it in high school and all… and even now in college we have this one week to look at it and then move on… but it’s barely being put into practice… though I will say a lot has changed in the world… People tend not to like being questioned… and I know there’s much more to Transcendentalism than just that… but it was their core belief… that people should learn… to be able to understand the world for themselves and not just have to go off what others told them… but so often now I still have teachers who don’t want you to even ask a question much less actually question if they’re right… they want to tell you what you need to know… test you on it… and then ship you out like a batch of stale cookies…

I’ve always had a problem with this… it really brought me nothing but grief in the military… where their motto is “shut up and color”… literally… you have no idea how many times I got told those exact words… and in some ways it makes sense… when you’re out in the field… in the middle of war or an attack or whatever… they don’t need you to stop and decide to have a philosophical discussion on is this or that right and should we perhaps try this method instead… they need people who can take orders and run with it… but sometimes when you’re back on your home base and it’s just the daily routine and there’s nothing going on… I don’t understand why it was wrong to ask questions… to make sense of the world around you and to make sure that you’re not… oh I don’t know… wasting tax payers’ dollars… repeatedly…

It just seems we’re trying so hard to make ourselves open to the world around us… to be aware of the different ways… and to act like we’re enlightened… well sometimes it seems like we’re trying… then again things like reality TV kills any hope of us ever being truly enlightened… and off goes another batch of cookie cutter people… I don’t have much of a point to any of this… but I do like throwing out the question… have you questioned your world today? Or are you just living life the way you’ve been told too?

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3 thoughts on ““I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

  1. “If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention.”
    “Stop continental drift.”

    Some of my favorite bumper stickers, which at their core tell us to question everything. (At least that’s my impression of Stop Continental Drift).

    You have to realize that some people don’t want to question the world because the answers they receive may make them uncomfortable or burden them when many of them already lead hard lives. Ignorance is bliss. It’s true. Sometimes you are happier when you don’t know the truth.

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    • I guess as someone who never could keep anything to herself… i’ve always wanted to know everything… but “The truth is heavy therefore few care to carry it”… I think that was Churchill but my google search was indecisive… but i never did understand the whole ignorance is bliss… it’s like just hoping there isn’t a monster under your bed and saying as long as you don’t look then there’s no way there’s one there… but you can’t really know for sure until you suck it up and look… truth cannot hurt you… it can only give you the tools to make the best of the life you have… and some better sleep at night because you know something isn’t about to jump out and devour you whole…

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      • Some people don’t want to know the truth, because the truth shakes the beliefs they’ve had their entire lives, and that’s a road too far for them.

        Personally I want to know if the monster is under my bed, even if for some reason I can’t do anything about it. Like you said, you can at least make the best of your situation. Minimize the impact of the monster to the best of your abilities.

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