Three quotes to remind one of how far Emerson’s self-reliance diverges from his contemporaries. Here the contemporaries are Mormonism & Darwinism: the former’s scriptural justification of calling and ordination to the priesthood; and Outsideness‘s summary of the latter. All three continue shaping the present—”we reason about them with a later reason”—so why not juxtapose them? (The variations between them are more complex, I know, but taking similar phrases out of context pleasantly intensifies the contrast.)
Ne te quaesiveris extra. [Look to no one outside yourself.]
—Persius, Satire I, 7; qtd. by Ralph Waldo Emerson as an epigraph for “Self-Reliance” (1841)
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
… The general point (Darwin’s big idea), is that no organism gets to vote on what counts as ‘fit’ [for itself]. From that, everything follows.
— Outsideness (@Outsideness) December 7, 2016
(*As sexual selection complicates things, I have amended Outsideness’s sentence with a reflexive pronoun to complement the other two.)