Emerson Self Reliance

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Individualism, Life Pages: 4 (1672 words) Published: December 3, 2010
Ralph Waldo Emerson's works "Self-Reliance” and Nature esteem transcendentalism as a romantic, individualistic philosophy of life in hopes of establishing contemporary concepts in society which reject traditional institutions and customs. Emerson’s thoughts are generally based on inward reflection, in which the capabilities of one’s soul and intuition are fundamental. He believes that a rejuvenated sense of personal inspiration can overpower the dogmatic constructs society imposes on its members. Emerson stresses the potential for genius and creativity in all people through the depth of philosophic interest in nature and in oneself, allowing people to find self-truth or their purpose. He further expounds upon this concept of the pursuit of self-realization by describing the process of gaining insight through opening oneself to the powers of nature in solitude and closing oneself to the influence of society in isolation. Isolation reflects Emerson’s statement of individualism as its emphasis is placed on the mental strength of a person over traditional systems of thought. This philosophy esteems individuals above all: society, religion, and other institutions and systems of thought. The dogmatisms imposed on human beings are part of a course one must deviate from in order to achieve individual freedom of thought and expression. A person must use society as a standard from which they must rise above by disregarding its norms. Emerson repeatedly calls on individuals to value their own thoughts, opinions, and experiences above those presented to them by others. Each individual is a unique expression of creativity and will, capable of contributing different ideas and reforms to society. Mankind’s divinity also plays a prominent role in the methods of isolation. All people, according to Emerson, have divine powers within. Success and achievement are derived from people themselves, not bestowed by another superior being. He...
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