Society and Selfless Action

No one needs to tell them what time to get up and go to work. They ask, seek, and knock. People enter a profession without background all the time and succeed because they practice the leadership quality of self-reliance. They take personal responsibility for developing the necessary skills and knowledge. In American culture today, there are people who go with the flow and do what everyone else does.

American culture values self-reliance to the extent that although the majority of people. The Spiritual Emerson: Introduction and Chapter 1 Summary Emerson 's essay on self-reliance unearths a plethora of distinctive lessons that serve to guide the people of society in each of our pursuits to become fully human. Serving as the overall driving idea behind the essay, Emerson details the significance of man valuing and acting upon his own ideas and judgement. Emerson's Self-Reliance The essay has three major divisions: the importance of self-reliance paragraphs , self-reliance and the individual paragraphs , and self-reliance and society paragraphs As a whole, it promotes self-reliance as an ideal, even a virtue, and contrasts it with various modes of dependence or conformity.

The Importance of Self-Reliance. Emerson begins his major work on individualism by asserting the importance of. Emerson, being an avid transcendentalist, believed in this philosophy. He supported this concept that we should rely on our own intuition and beliefs. One must have. Self-Reliance Essay Words 4 Pages. Imagine the world taken over by young children who yield to no one or thing. In a world where everyone does as he or she wanted, much chaos would be present. In Emerson's "Self-Reliance", he shares his version of an ideal society where nobody conforms to one another.

Even though his ideas maintain influential in modern society, his impractical world contradicts with human nature and ceases to encourage any nation to establish such a society.


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I personally think he is a weird man. He has many different thoughts that I agree with to a point and some that I just do not agree in at all. In this paper I will argue all of the main …show more content….

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And in some cases I do agree with this thought, but not fully. There are good people out there who do want to help and do everything they can to make the world a better place. This is an essay about self-reliance, not in the Thoreau sense, but being Holy smokes. This is an essay about self-reliance, not in the Thoreau sense, but being self-oriented even when in the crowd.

Very existential at times since it has this "self vs crowd" aspect. I was not sure I totally agreed with the essay.

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The part against travelling for amusement rubbed me the wrong way, maybe because I've been travelling a lot this year. But it challenged me, which is good. May 18, Justin Tyler rated it it was amazing. The essay "Self-Reliance" has been immensely important to me. If ever you are going through tough times, or feel that you are not being treated as well as you deserve, or fear that you are too dependent on another person for your happiness, or are just wondering about what it really means to have personal identity, read this essay.

It's incredible. Aug 21, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: top-shelf , wisdom-philosophical-investigatons , america-fuck-yeah. So dense yet lucid and poetic and rigorous I've been coming back to this stuff for years in short but deeply felt dives into Emerson's humming catacombs.

I do believe what Bloom says when he calls Ralphie-boy "the mind of America" Feb 03, Seth Hanson rated it it was amazing. Pure and simple My personal philosophy of life is largely grounded in the ideals that are so well articulated and espoused in this short work. It's like scripture to me. Oct 16, Andrea rated it it was amazing. I love Ralph Waldo! I can only understand 1 out of every 5 things he says, but the parts I am getting are brilliant.


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I hear the American Scholar essay is fantastic. Can't wait to read it. Feb 09, Kevin Wooden rated it really liked it. Potato head. Have I ever really had an original thought? Very inspirational and also very challenging. This is going to take a few more reads for me to really get. Oct 01, Ben Lind rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Reading Books Emerson thinks that you should only read as a last resort. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be waster in other men's transcripts of their readings. But when the intervals of darkness come, as come they must,—when the soul seeth not, when the sun is hid and the stars withdraw their shining,—we repair to the lamps which were kindled by their ray, to guide our steps to the East again, where the dawn is.

We hear, tha Reading Books Emerson thinks that you should only read as a last resort. We hear, that we may speak" Books do still have extraordinary power, however.

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On the same hand, "[o]nly so much do I know, as I have lived. Instantly we know whose words are loaded with life, and whose not" The use of literature is to afford us a platform whence we may command a view of our present life, a purchase by which we may move it" Self-Reliance I found Emerson's writing to be at times distastefully arrogant. He places such importance on self-reliance that any man who is not completely self-reliant is treated as lesser. Emerson says of the self-reliant man that "[h]e and he only knows the world" That, besides being almost the definition of pride, goes completely against my firm Christian beliefs.

Despite this distaste, I still appreciated Emerson's wisdom on many topics. He must be taken with a helping of salt. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is punished, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill. The wise man throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point.

The wound cicatrizes and falls off from him like a dead skin, and when they would triumph, lo! Blame is safer than praise" Choose your companions carefully. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own" We have lost the art of resilience. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life.

A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not "studying a profession," for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances. Let a Stoic open the resources of man, and tell men they are not leaning willows, but can and must detach themselves; that with the exercise of self-trust, new powers shall appear; that a man is the word made flesh, born to shed healing to the nations, that he should be ashamed of our compassion, and that the moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries and customs out of the window, we pity him no more, but thank and revere him,—and that teacher shall restore the life of man to splendor, and make his name dear to all history" There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these.

Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again" Nature One idea that Emerson expounds upon at length is the polarity of nature.

To him, everything moves in circles. Seasons come and go in a defined cycle. Fluids and sound undulate predictably. Every excess causes a defect; every defect an excess" At the same time, every part of nature contains the whole of nature. The value of the universe contrives to throw itself into every point" These ideas remind me of Thoreau and Walden. I agree, but of course not in the way that Emerson means. He should preserve in a new company the same attitude of mind and reality of relation, which his daily associates draw him to, else he is shorn of his best beams, and will be an orphan in the merriest club" Cleansed by the elemental light and wind, steeped in the sea of beautiful forms which the field offers us, we may chance to cast a right glance back upon biography" Man Emerson then reflects on the nature of man: "to gratify the senses, we sever the pleasure of the senses from the needs of the character.

The ingenuity of man has always been dedicated to the solution of one problem,—how to detach the sensual sweet, the sensual strong, the sensual bright, etc. But alas, "[t]his dividing and detaching is steadily counteracted. Up to this day, it must be owned, no projector has had the smallest success" Consistency "The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loth to disappoint them.

He may as well concern himself with the shadow on the wall.

Self Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay Audiobook, Classic Literature

Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day" Travel Emerson is not fond of travel. Friendship Emerson's perception of friendship and authenticity is insightful. Before him, I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness, with which one chemical atom meets another. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds.


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I knew a man who,[] under a certain religious frenzy, cast off this drapery, and omitting all compliments and commonplace, spoke to the conscience of every person he encountered, and that with great insight and beauty. At first he was resisted, and all men agreed he was mad. But persisting, as indeed he could not help doing, for some time in this course, he attained to the advantage of bringing every man of his acquaintance into true relations with him.

No man would think of speaking falsely with him, or of putting him off with any chat of markets or reading-rooms" The scholar sits down to write, and all his years of meditation do not furnish him with one good thought or happy expression; but it is necessary to write a letter to a friend, and, forthwith, troops of gentle thoughts invest themselves, on every hand, with chosen words" But we have aimed at a swift and petty benefit, to suck a sudden sweetness. We snatch at the slowest fruit in the whole garden of God, which many summers and many winters must ripen.

We seek our friend not sacredly but with an adulterate passion which would appropriate him to ourselves" It makes no difference how many friends I have, and what content I can find in conversing with each, if there be one to whom I am not equal. If I have shrunk unequal from one contest instantly, the joy I find in all the rest becomes mean and cowardly. I should hate myself, if then I made my other friends my asylum" Better be a nettle in the side of your friend, than his echo" Our impatience betrays us into rash and foolish alliances which no God attends.

By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little you gain the great" But whence and when? To-morrow will be like to-day. Life wastes itself whilst we are preparing to live. Our friends and fellow-workers die off from us. Scarcely can we say we see new men, new women, approaching us. We are too old to regard fashion, too old to expect patronage of any greater or more powerful. Let us suck the sweetness of those affections and consuetudes[] that grow near us. These old shoes are easy to the feet" Heroism "The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency.

All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. Manners "The secret of success in society, is a certain heartiness and sympathy. A man who is not happy in the company, cannot find any word in his memory that will fit the occasion. All his information is a little impertinent. A man who is happy there, finds in every turn of the conversation equally lucky occasions for the introduction of that which he has to say" Appetite shows to the finer souls as a disease, and they find beauty in rites and bounds that resist it" Nov 02, Christian rated it it was ok.

I didn't read this exact edition. Mine had 12 essays in it, including Self-Reliance. I'm not really sure why that particular essay is so popular. I guess people take away the message of: believe in yourself and don't worry about what the critics in your life say. That's great, but Emerson seems more arrogant and extreme than that. For example: "To believe your own thought, to believe that what it true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius. That's one o I didn't read this exact edition.

That's one of the things they break you of during freshman year when you realize you're not that wise and the world is a pretty diverse place. As for extreme, I think he's dangerously individualistic.

Emerson's Essays

He argues that we belong to no one and that each person is responsible for charting their own course through life. Sounds fine at first. But then someone asks him to give to the poor. I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. Oct 29, Renee rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God.

In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt si "Ne te quaesiveris extra. In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations. A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you.

Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. Sep 14, Emile rated it it was amazing. The essay 'Self-reliance' remains one of the most influential pieces of material that I have had to guide me in the development of my own character.

So dense and spare in its proclamations, it gave me a call to arms and inspiration to become a good and true man while trusting me to determine who that man will be. Nov 19, Kathryn rated it it was amazing Shelves: contribued-to-my-liberal-arts-ma , non-fiction , spirituality-philosophy-religion. I'm a huge Emerson fan and, while many do not consider him the finest in terms of literary merit though I enjoy his prose and he himself felt Thoreau would be more the poetic prophet of Transcendentalism, Emerson's style and philosophy are dear to my heart. PS I read many other misc. Nov 29, Emily Lo rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy.

I read this as a Freshman in High School and it's a challenge, to say the least.

Self-Reliance and Other Essays

It's worth it. You can't miss out on a classic like this. Every sentence is a jewel, and it's really really rich. Beautiful prose and simple philosophy. Don't let the words scare you. This is some of the most beautiful, candid works I've read in a long time. Nov 27, Sahar Pirmoradian rated it liked it.

This book is a collection of several essays by Emerson. The "Self-reliance" essay helped me better digest the mentality of Americans - why they do not have many charities or their social insurance is so poor, compared to Europeans. I also enjoyed his essay on "Friendship", where he defines friendship ingredients: equality and sincerity. Jul 10, Sarah Zitwer rated it really liked it. The audiobook route was a little rough for me, otherwise 5 stars. May 30, Daniel rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. These essays are life-changing; they shaped the American mind and imagination in the s and 40s and continue to be at the heart of what it means to be an American.

Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close. The Scholar, in his ideal form, represents Man Thinking. Through observations of its intricate patterns, the scholar is inspired to intellectual activity. He learns to organize and classify all that he observes in the natural world, which sharpens his analytical skills.

II — Books. A problem arises when one uncritically relies on the teachings and thinking of the past. One accepts vast systems that have been generated by great men and implicitly trusts to their authority, forgetting that great men of the past were once just fallible young men sitting in libraries and writing.

Moreover, you must think for yourself. III — Action: Action is what the scholar typically subordinates to thought, but this is a grave mistake. Action is necessary. Now E. The scholar has to pay a heavy price for his choice of profession. He must spend long period of time in preparation, must be marginalized and disdained, be lonely misunderstood, and often impoverished.

He is to find consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature. He is one who raises himself from private considerations and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever into barbarism, by preserving and communicating heroic sentiments, noble biographies, melodious verse, and the conclusions of history. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds. What would we really know the meaning of?

The meal in the firkin; the milk in the pan; the ballad in the street; the news of the boat; the glance of the eye; the form and the gait of the body;—show me the ultimate reason of these matters; show me the sublime presence of the highest spiritual cause lurking, as always it does lurk, in these suburbs and extremities of nature; let me see every trifle bristling with the polarity that ranges it instantly on an eternal law; and the shop, the plow, and the ledger referred to the like cause by which light undulates and poets sing;—and the world lies no longer a dull miscellany and lumber-room, but has form and order: there is no trifle, there is no puzzle, but one design unites and animates the farthest pinnacle and the lowest trench… We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.

The spirit of the American freeman is already suspected to be timid, imitative, tame. Public and private avarice make the air we breathe thick and fat. The scholar is decent, indolent, complaisant. See already the tragic consequence. The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself. There is no work for any one but the decorous and the complaisant. Young men of the fairest promise, who begin life upon our shores, inflated by the mountain winds, shined upon by all the stars of God, find the earth below not in unison with these, but are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust, some of them suicides.

What is the remedy? They did not yet see, and thousands of young men as hopeful now crowding to the barriers for the career do not yet see, that if the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him. The self-reliant man defines his own responsibilities and lives up to them.

http://tf.nn.threadsol.com/wynip-software-to.php He works hard, and in doing so, reveals his true nature to others. For Emerson there is a sacredness to our idlest reveries and roving thoughts because they are the expression of intuition and the real self. When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.