a redeemed social condition

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly it means here?

Thanks.
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it means that in your lifetime a person or a group of people are socially (economically, politically, culturally and so on) better off. Christ redeemed us (as one pays off a mortgage) by dying to save us from our sins; in the view of this author success may mean living to improve someone's social condition.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    The paragraph quoted develops its theme in different ways:

    "to win the respect of [1] intelligent people and the affection of [2] children" = healthy relationships with both
    [1] peers/superiors, whose development is equal to or ahead of one's own,
    and with
    [2] those whose development is behind one's own.

    "to earn the appreciation of [1] honest critics and endure the betrayal of [3] false friends" = sorting
    [1] mature/healthy relationships
    from
    [3] immature/unhealthy relationships.
    To separate the wheat from the chaff. To remove weeds from a garden.

    "to leave the world a bit better, whether by [A] a healthy child, a garden patch, or [C] a redeemed social condition"
    Thus the world is better where those one leaves behind have
    A = well ordered minds,
    B = well ordered gardens
    and
    C = well ordered societies.

    C is analogous to B and an extension of A
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I take a "redeemed social condition" to mean that the person has helped to relieve some major social problem (like poverty, child prostitution), or even helped abolish it (like slavery). It's the culmination of what is possible for one person to achieve in their lifetime.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    I take a "redeemed social condition" to mean that the person has helped to relieve some major social problem...
    I see no reason to exclude smaller scale problems; why should settling a family feud or a quarrel between one's colleagues be any less a "redeemed social condition"?
    Major social problems are a good thing to reform, but grandiose in this context;
    ie. it is a giant leap from the everyday virtues of childcare and gardening.

    "...a healthy child, a garden patch, or the abolition of slavery":confused:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Well, I didn't think he meant one person could abolish slavery, but I think a "redeemed social condition" implies some very worthy large-scale project. I thought perhaps the idea is that every person can contribute towards making life better for others; some in very small ways and some in more significant ways. I might very well be wrong.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Well, I didn't think he meant one person could abolish slavery, but I think a "redeemed social condition" implies some very worthy large-scale project...
    I don't think you are wrong, but I was (though not now) concerned not to undervalue the work you, I or anyone else does here.

    Education is a large scale project, of which language is one branch and WordReference Forums is only a twig, but none the less we find this little bit worth tending.
    "to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top