Self-Reliance and transcendentalism and how they relate to modern day life

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Self-Reliance Pages: 3 (823 words) Published: April 6, 2008
Many people in our world are often trying to be self-reliant; trying to make it on their own and be original in thought and true to themselves. Many of those people end up conforming and doing what has been done in the past. They end up walking down the worn out path that so many have walked before. However, a famous writer named Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that you need to venture off the main path and explore new ideas if you truly want to be great.

Emerson was one of the most famous examples of a transcendentalist. Transcendentalists were basically Idealists, but in a more practical sense. They believed that all people should strive to reach their goals and work hard till they reach human perfectibility. During his time period there was a great amount of positive growth in America and national identity causing many reforms in social, political, literary, and religious aspects of America. Transcendentalists believed that everything was a reflection of the Divine Soul. When you begin to think about it many people in modern day life have many transcendentalists like qualities; many people try to work to be perfect and don't stop till they are there.

Emerson brought forth many bold and new ideas in his essay Self-Reliance. One of the main thought of his essay was that if a person wants to be great, they must be come up with completely original ideas and stick with them as shown when he writes "Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another." He said that there was nobody to teach the great writers of his time period, thus if you want to be remembered for your greatness you must start your completely new way of thought. He writes his famous line, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored be little salesmen and philosophers and diviners. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may...
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