Thursday, August 25, 2011

Commonsense Quotes From Famous Women - Margaret Fuller

“Be what you would seem to be….”
Margaret Fuller 1810-1850
The original quote goes on to read, “…or, if you’d like it put more simply - A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body”

Either way it is a fine quote, but for my part I think the first of it stands alone elegantly and the second half merely adds extraneous explanation to her thoughts.

Be what you would seem to be…. is some of the most timeless advice you will ever receive.  It sounds deceptively simple, but when all it said and done it is probably the most difficult task you will ever set yourself.  Why?  Because we all secretly desire to see and believe the best in and of ourselves, and that is the persona we want the world to see when they look at us.

The real trick is, of course, living up to that which we want the world to believe is true.

If we want to believe ourselves honest, then we can’t tell lies. It’s really just that simple; because the one person in the world who will always know we are lying is, of course, ourselves.   Nor can we try to fancy it up, or play it down with terms like little white lie, deception, detraction, dishonest, disinformation, dissembling, distortion, evasion, fabrication, falsehood, falsification, fib, fiction, forgery, fraudulence, guile, hedging, hyperbole, inaccuracy, invention, misrepresentation, misstatement, prevarication, slander, subterfuge, tale, tall story, untruth, or whopper.  

When all is said and done–when it is all over and done with–a lie, is a lie, is a lie…and if you are the genuinely honest person that you would like to believe that you are, and whom you would like to seem to others to be, then you are going to know it’s just a lie.

Oh course the same goes for stealing, and cheating and numerous other crimes against the Golden Rule.  Call it what you want, but if you have to try to justify your public or private words or actions in either the eyes of the world, or in your own mind, it’s probably not something that the person you want to seem to be would do.

Another favorite quote by Margaret Fuller that is applicable to this particular essay is…

It is astonishing what force, purity, and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods.

Margaret Fuller

Smiles and Good Fortune,
Margaret Fuller was the quintessential woman before her time, and a very courageous one at that.  She knew what she wanted out of life and along with a progressive thinking father that set her on the path with a good education, she found a way to achieve her goals. During her life she was a teacher, feminist advocate for women’s education and right to work, educational guru for uneducated women, writer, editor, reporter, foreign correspondent, and political revolutionary.  She is best know historically for her book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845. She, and her husband and child died in a shipwreck in 1950.

 Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.
I have a graduate degree in history and I love history in all it’s forms–especially women’s history. A graduate degree in women’s studies was not an option at the university where I received my MA in History so I had to make do with a more generalized degree. However, in every class I made up for the lack by researching the condition of women in each age that I studied. I have always been fascinated by women’s history, so I thought I would start sharing some of the lost treasures that I uncover. I believe that most people have curious minds and like glimpses of how the world was, and how things were perceived in the past. I firmly believe in the idea that we must remember history in order to learn from it, grow and hopefully cut down on the number of stupid mistakes that random impulse and intellectual curiosity and greed and a thousand other human motivators lead us to make.
 Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

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