A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
I was a senior in high school when I first heard this quote and I loved it so much, I scribbled it on the back of one of my notebooks in huge, illegible letters.
Basically the quote is telling us to let go of the need to conform and be “consistent” with society’s mores, and even to break away from our own consistent schedules at times. That last part is hard for me; I am very much a creature of habit and I like having a set routine. But Emerson seems to believe that, in order to prevent our minds from getting stuck in the rut of our own schedules, that we should do something different from time to time. Mankind has limitless creativity, and there is no need to stifle that by sticking to the same consistent routine.
I do agree that we should not blindly follow what society dictates is the “right” way or the “true” way. If we follow society, we shut ourselves off to the power of our own minds and our own individuality.
Emerson believes we should rely on ourselves and our unique natures, think outside the box, be individuals, walk to the beat of our own drummer, don’t jump off a bridge because all our friends are doing it… you know. 🙂 Consistency is good, but too much, or a “foolish,” consistency might box us in.