Self Reliance

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Individualism, Michel de Montaigne Pages: 2 (437 words) Published: November 15, 2006
"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men -that is genius."

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a renowned philospher, lecturer, poet and writer. He lived in the time of the lyceum movement, in which popular lecturers travelled throughout the U.S., leading debates and discussions about the great topics of the day.

Emerson's individualism ---- that every individual should be self-reliant ---- finds a forceful & well reasoned expression in the essay " Self - reliance " . "Self-Reliance," published in 1841, is an essay that urges readers to trust in their own intuition and common sense-rather than automatically following popular opinion and conforming to the will of the majority-when making a decision. Be yourself. Trust your own inner voice is the theme of this essay which is repeated by Emerson throughout the essay in different ways. For example, he urges his readers to retain the outspokenness of a small child who freely speaks his mind-because he has not yet been corrupted by adults who tell him to do otherwise. He also urges readers to avoid envying or imitating others viewed as models of perfection; instead, he says, readers should take pride in their own unique individuality and never be afraid to express their own original ideas. In addition, he says, they should refuse to conform to the ways of the popular culture and its shallow ideals; rather they should live up to their own ideals-even if doing so reaps them criticism and denunciation. Self-Reliance is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and published in 1841.In this essay, Emerson conveys his transcendentalist philosophy and belief in self-reliance, an essential part of which is to trust in one's present thoughts and impressions rather than those of other people or of one's past self.Emerson begins his major work on individualism by asserting the importance of thinking for oneself rather than meekly accepting other people's ideas. As...
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