Rewrite the paragraph below for an audience of your peers. Try to follow the original meaning as closely as possible.
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connexion of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the Eternal was stirring at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not pinched in a corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but redeemers and benefactors, pious aspirants to be noble clay under the Almighty effort let us advance on Chaos and the Dark.
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This is definitely about self-reliance as genuine individual living. There is also the sense of ‘seize the day’ (which is certainly not a modern phrase) and being aware of your place in history and what you can do as an individual, as a member of society, but Emerson also calls for a transcendent move. He means this spiritually/philosophically but also as being courageous enough to lead humanity in its progress and adventure into the chaos and dark (which could be interpreted as the unknown future). So, I agree that only you can put this in your own words. If I were to put this in words for an audience of my own peers, it would be less refined, but hopefully as powerful. The thing about it is that this passage, and many others from Emerson, are general powerful enough to be timeless. That is, they can apply to any period in history because they illustrate virtuous principles that can be applied any time. But, if you want to tailor it to a time period, use something culturally relevant like technology. For example:
This is an incredible time in the world’s history. Because of computer technology, ridiculously vast amounts of knowledge are literally at your fingertips. Great people before you looked at the world as if it were always miraculous; this is a wonder that most children lose during adolescence and young adulthood. Don’t lose it. The world is more integrated now than ever before. It calls for individuals to think like individuals while also thinking of each other. Don’t float lazily by in the overwhelming current of history. Be the current.
Emerson's quote and ideas have much in way of modern relevance. I am not sure that anyone can or should rewrite it for you. Yet, I think that some basic starting points can be given. "Trusting in yourself" is an idea that can speak to modern audiences. I think that being able to tell a modern audience to "listen to your heart" and "stay true to that which you believe" can resonate, as well. I would bring out the idea that the greatest figures in history have always believed in themselves and been able to trust their own actions. It might be here that I would strike a slightly different tone, as Emerson seems to be bringing out much in way of vaulting individuals over the forces of the Divine. Perhaps something such as, "Don't wait for miracles, for you should be the miracle you seek," might help to bring out this idea that individuals could do great things if they listen to their own heart and their own believes in an authentic and sincere manner. Finally, I think that the "fierce urgency of now," to quote Dr. King, might be a fitting inclusion at the end in terms of being able to convince others that now is the time for action.
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