Self-Reliance: Philosophies Of Transcendentalism And Individualism



Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-reliance, is an American romantic because it explores the philosophies of transcendentalism, and individualism. Transcendentalism is the belief that there is a higher reality, or truth that man can grasp through his intuition, not logic or science. The celebration of individualism, was to look to yourself, for your own truth and happiness, and not look to society, or your neighbor. These issues are still relevant today even though this essay was written in the late 1800’s.
Transcendentalism is the key principle to Emerson’s writing, and to this essay. This contained in his first line “Ne te quaesiverus extra”, (Emerson 1) meaning do not seek yourself ...

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in their own time, “the heights merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they thought.” (Emerson 222), for looking to themselves for their own truth and happiness. We should have self-trust, that when we get an idea, we should listen to ourselves, yet we dismiss our thoughts to often, “ A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashed across his mind from without notice his thought, because it is his.” (Emerson 222) We often do not trust ourselves enough to find truth, so we choose to depend on others. All we know is within us, but we assume that others think the same as we do. Self-trust is internal, and Emerson believes all humans have this power, they just do not apply it. Every man must arrive to believe that “ envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or for worse...’, for that is self-trust. (Emerson 223)
Emerson was interested ...

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"Self-Reliance: Philosophies Of Transcendentalism And Individualism." Essayworld.com. December 19, 2008. Accessed April 28, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Self-Reliance-Philosophies-Of-Transcendentalism-Individualism/94872.
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Added: 12/19/2008 02:28:27 PM
Category: English
Words: 609
Pages: 3

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