"Nature and Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Life, Mind Pages: 2 (571 words) Published: April 10, 2003
Sarah Morrow

Dr. Bill Ellis

Am. Rom. 5317

January 28, 2003

Nature and Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson, nineteenth century poet and writer, expresses a philosophy of life, based on our inner self and the presence of the soul. Emerson regarded and learned from the great minds of the past. In his writings he says repeatedly that each person should live according to his own thinking. In Nature and Self-Reliance the central theme is do not seek answers outside of yourself.

This main idea of Emerson's philosophy states that a man should learn to express himself. Being yourself will help you to solve the problems of your life. We need to trust ourselves in order to improve our life, like all great men have done. Self-Reliance expresses that the Truth stems from within deep in our soul which is the pillar of our personal power and self-respect. This source of all greatness sets us free form the ego and helps us to transcend through the ideals of love, truth and justice; some people call this "the moral sense". The soul cannot be completely defined or described but it is the only thing we can be absolutely sure of, since all other facts are temporary. Being ourselves allows us to obtain many more answers and to understand our unconscious intentions. Humans may exceed their limited ideas by realizing that God does exists and that in Him, we will find the Truth and answers if we open ourselves to Him.

Self-Reliance also expresses the need for creative thinking. Society during Emerson's era resisted reform and scorned the reformer. Emerson saw individualism in direct conflict with society. Although he often criticized society, he stressed more importantly the openness of the individual through the soul.

The soul is the creative essence all of creation including art, which is human unity with natural things, which is expressed in Nature. In Nature the soul sees the picture of its own pure essence manifest, seeing beauty, truth, and justice in...
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