Nature & Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo EmersonA great book that includes two major works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” and “Self-reliance”, which constitute major and important documents of Transcendentalism. “Nature” is about the relationship between humanity and nature; it encourages an original relation with the universe, filled with harmony. The essay is filled with beautiful images, such as the transparent eyeball, which resembles a mythical relation with the universe, where the ego is dissolved. Emerson addressed many points regarding mankind relation with nature, the healing power of nature, how nature serves the humans’ physical needs, the important role of beauty, nature and language, and others. However, the essay shows the influence of Plato and Kant, in particular, on Emerson’s transcendental philosophy.
On the other hand, Self-reliance is concerned with the importance of avoiding conformity and, instead, following one’s instincts and ideas. From the start of the essay, Emerson encourages every person to believe in his/her thoughts and to speak them. In order to get rid of the conformity, which society valorizes, the person should turn to the neutrality of youth. Emerson, in this essay, shows the person how to achieve self-reliance and overcome the barriers that hinder its fulfillment (e.g. through trusting one’s self, being nonconformist, etc.); moreover, he suggests that Self-reliance should be applied to all the aspects of our lives. The book was very interesting, and it encouraged me to read more about transcendentalism, as well as more articles by Emerson.
PNTV: Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson and other transcendentalists believed that nature —rather than society , institutions, or the Church—is the ultimate source of truth about the self, God, and existence. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe. Emerson advocates not settling for such an indirect connection, and he argues that actually engaging with nature offers the means of gaining that direct connection to existence, and, as a consequence, a deeper understanding of the self and self-reliance.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nature and Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay
In September Emerson published his long essay Nature. The book outlined his ideas about the manifestation of the universal spirit in nature. Emerson argued that man needed no church to connect to the divine - he had only to go out into nature, God's true canvas, to hear the truthful voice within. Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
In "Self-Reliance," philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that polite society has an adverse effect on one's personal growth. Self-sufficiency, he writes, gives one the freedom to discover one's true self and attain true independence. Five predominant elements of Transcendentalism are nonconformity, self-reliance, free thought, confidence, and the importance of nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the essay and published in as part of his first volume of collected essays. Examples of self-reliance can be as simple as tying your own shoes and as complicated as following your inner voice and not conforming to paths set by society or religion.
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