“All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.” — James Fenimore Cooper
“The less government we have, the better, — the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of [by] formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The former generations acted under the belief that a shining social prosperity was the beatitude of man, and sacrificed uniformly the citizen to the State. The modern mind believed that the nation existed for the individual, for the guardianship and education of every man. This idea, roughly written in revolutions and national movements, in the mind of the philosopher had far more precision; the individual is the world.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau
“They [conformists] think society wiser than their soul, and know not that one soul, and their soul, is wiser than the whole world…Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members….Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist…. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you imagine, today, any of these statements gaining traction in mainstream media?But the fact that the culture has devolved doesn’t get the present-day individual off the hook.His independence, his contributions, his imagination and creative power are needed more than ever.