Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Individual is important.  That sentence could sum up Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, but he does go into detail.  What is inside us, our souls and thoughts is essential and should be expressed before another person expresses it.  Ignore the mass of voices that rally against you and follow yourself.  Emerson see youth as universally good, since it is unaffected by outside influences it can express its own opinion.  But as soon as a boy becomes a man he is trapped by consciousness and swayed by the masses.  Emerson calls for a movement back to youth so that we can be unbiased.  He wants people to live their lives for themselves, not others.  Attaching oneself to a community of opinion, Emersom believes, will make that man speak only half or quarter truths.  Another thing that holds us back is memory or the past.  Men are scared of contradicting ourselves or being misunderstood. But Emerson brings up the point that many great men such as Jesus and Plato were misunderstood.  In the end, Emerson believes that the actual truth and self-reliance is top priority.

I understand Emerson’s sentiments, about having a world where people spoke the truth without influence from other people or public sway.  A world like this would make things less complicated, which in turn might bring us closer to nature.  I like the employment of this thought in terms of culture and how something’s are not accepted because of public opinion or towards the government.  If government officials were able to truly operate outside of public opinion, that they could be fully effective in working for the public good, instead of worrying about its opinion.  While it’s hard to find the negative in “absolute truth”, it can have a down said.  With everyone expressing their own unique truth, the question arises, “Are they all equal or is one above the other?”  Also not all thoughts are Good, but then agains what’s good changes from person to person.  While Emerson’s….philosophy is good, it is more complex as it is apply in the real world

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree that his philosophy is good, but it's more complex when applying it to the real world. If people really spoke the absolute truth no one would really like anyone else. There are a lot of things better kept unsaid and somethings that people just don't need to know. I like it!