self reliance

Everyone quotes this:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

But Self-Reliance is full of gems…

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. ”

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion”

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. ”

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. ”

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. ”

“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. ”

and the words around the famous quote…

“The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.

But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? …

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. ”

“Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time. ”

and of course these days I don’t post, or if i post its not about usability or ia– i feel inconsitant and inconstant– though not particularly great. i feel perhaps the revolt of usability is almost over, it’s becoming part of everyday quality work, and perhaps it’s time to consider design.

and perhaps roses.


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  1. 1

    “i feel perhaps the revolt of usability is almost over, it’s becoming part of everyday quality work, and perhaps it’s time to consider design.”

    You may be interested in my comments on this very topic.

  2. 2
    Paul Nattress

    Just like information architecture, usability is now a skill-set – at least in terms of usability design. Usability testing I think is more than a skill-set (where user testing is concerned). Any more thoughts?

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