What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

Crear una teoría no es como destruir un viejo establo para erigir un rascacielos en su lugar. Se parece más a escalar una montaña cuando se alcanzan vistas nuevas y más amplias y se descubren relaciones inesperadas entre el punto de partida y su rico entorno. Pero el punto de partida continúa existiendo y lo podemos divisar, aunque parece más pequeño y forma una pequeña parte del panorama que se abre a nuestros ojos, más ancho ahora tras haber vencido los obstáculos de nuestra arriesgada ascensión.