Compensation (essay)

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"Compensation" is an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It appeared in his book Essays, first published 1841. In 1844, Essays: Second Series was published, and subsequent republishings of Essays were renamed Essays: First Series.


Emerson is writing about the law of Karma or of Cause and Effect. Everywhere in nature there is dualism. Dualism is present within us because it balances life instead of having excess to destroy. Action or reaction, day/night, up/down, even/odd and spirit/matter is used to balance the universe. We must all use moderation in life instead of excess to cause us defects in our lives. If there is excess it needs to be moderated for proper balance.


"To empty here, you must condense there."

"There is a crack in every thing God has made."

"Whilst the world is thus dual, so is every one of its parts. The entire system of things gets represented in every particle. There is somewhat that resembles the ebb and flow of the sea, day and night, man and woman, in a single needle of the pine, in a kernel of corn, in each individual of every animal tribe." "The same dualism underlies the nature and condition of man."

"Every sweet hath its sour; every evil its good. Every faculty which is a receiver of pleasure has an equal penalty put on its abuse. It is to answer for its moderation with its life."

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