The virtue which we appreciate, we to some extent appropriate.

What did Henry David Thoreau mean by:

The virtue which we appreciate, we to some extent appropriate.


This quote, "The virtue which we appreciate, we to some extent appropriate," suggests that when we admire or value a particular virtue in someone else, we tend to incorporate or adopt it into our own behavior or character to some degree. It’s the idea that our admiration for certain qualities can influence our own actions and behaviors, leading us to emulate those qualities in our own lives.

To break it down further, the term ‘appreciate’ implies a recognition and understanding of the value or significance of something. ‘Appropriate’ in this context means to take something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. However, in terms of virtues, there’s no violation involved because virtues aren’t owned by anyone. They are universal and available for anyone to cultivate within themselves.

Applying this idea to today’s world or personal development, it suggests that we can consciously choose the virtues we admire and wish to embody. For instance, if we appreciate honesty in others, we can strive to be more honest in our own lives. If we admire kindness, we can make an effort to be kinder. In essence, it’s about personal growth and character development, taking inspiration from the virtues we value in others.

In the context of personal development, this quote can be a powerful tool for self-improvement and personal growth. It encourages introspection and self-awareness, prompting us to consider what virtues we value most and strive to incorporate them into our own lives. It also underscores the idea that we are influenced by the people we admire and look up to, highlighting the importance of choosing positive role models.

In a broader societal context, this quote suggests that societal values and virtues can be shaped and influenced by what we collectively appreciate. If society as a whole appreciates virtues such as empathy, compassion, and fairness, it is more likely that these virtues will become more prevalent within that society.

Overall, this quote emphasizes the power of appreciation in shaping our character and actions, suggesting that we can actively mold ourselves and our society based on the virtues we value and admire.

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