Emerson's Self Reliance Overview

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Thesis: Don't conform to society; be an individual.
I.The person who chooses to listen to the majority lacks the creative boldness necessary for individualism a.Leads to acceptance of the same ideas
II."Trust thyself"
a.don't rely on others' opinions
b.self esteem is original and mature
c.bring order out of chaos
III.Children are good models
a.Too young to be cynical, hesitant, or hypocritical-in contrast to adults b.Loyalties cannot be broken
IV.Individualists need to resist society
a.Following the inner voice can be evil
b.Yet better to be true to evil inner voice than to conform to society c.Wastes a person's life to conform
V.Act independently no matter what
a.Don't listen to what society says, be an individual
b.Difference between enjoying solitude and being a hermit
c.Do what is necessary regardless of criticisms
d.Individual nature allows thinker to battle society
VI.Enemies of independent thinkers
a.Society's scorn
b.Consistency
i.Restrains independence and growth
VII.How to achieve self-reliance
a.Don't be belittled by magnificence-humans determine an objects worth b.Don't compare yourself to great people (kings)
c.Intuition-transcendentalism
i.Thoughtless people are too worried about being consistent ii.Gained through intuitive knowledge, too abstract to describe-only what is not d.Eternally evolve for the better
e.The common people are too lazy, too driven by desires trying to please other people f.Individuals who follow their intuition are more "godlike" than those who conform VIII.benefits to society

a.urban v. rural- rural is better, more gratifying
b.religion, culture, society, and the arts are in desperate need of self-reliant individuals c.individualism turns self-absorbance into wishes for the common good d.religion is dangerous because it doesn't allow the individual to make its own decisions e.traveling is bad, doesn't allow original ideas to develop f.society doesn't improve...
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