Self-Reliance by Emerson

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau Pages: 3 (1230 words) Published: October 8, 1999
1.The essay that I elected to read and analyze was “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 2.The Transcendental Movement held a strong opinion that one should have complete faith in oneself. Emerson, being an avid transcendentalist, believed in this philosophy. He supported this concept that we should rely on our own intuition and beliefs. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” Emerson, along with the Transcendental Movement, believed in the vitality of self-reliance. One must have confidence and belief in oneself. “…the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.” Once one has reliance upon oneself, he can generate his own set of ideals and morals, not just the ideals bestowed upon him by society. In obeying these principles of life, he has created a constitution of his own. This constitution is the guiding light of his life; it leads the way to truth and ultimate liberation and provides the right path to follow. This idea brings about the transcendental concept of the belief in the worth of the individual. The individual, in transcendental philosophy, has the power to accomplish anything and everything. Social organization and friendship offer a small satisfaction of companionship and structure in life, but one will ultimately succeed based upon his own skills and conviction. In doing so, he will lose interest in the society and concentrate on more individual dependency as he strives to gain ultimate truth in life. “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.” Once one considers less the social ramifications of his actions and considers more the personal consequences, he will become more apt to discover what he is looking for; in the transcendentalists’ case, it was the meaning of life. 3.a).“To be great is to be misunderstood.”

This statement was used by Emerson to explain the lagging...
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