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“Nature and Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson, nineteenth century poet and writer, expresses a philosophy of life, based on our inner self and the presence of the soul. Emerson regarded and learned from the great minds of the past. In his writings he says repeatedly that each person should live according to his own thinking. In Nature and Self-Reliance the central theme is do not seek answers outside of yourself.

This main idea of Emerson’s philosophy states that a man should learn to express himself. Being yourself will help you to solve the problems of your life. We need to trust ourselves in order to improve our life, like all great men have done. Self-Reliance expresses that the Truth stems from within deep in our soul which is the pillar of our personal power and self-respect. This source of all greatness sets us free form the ego and helps us to transcend through the ideals of love, truth and justice; some people call this “the moral sense”. The soul cannot be completely defined or described but it is the only thing we can be absolutely sure of, since all other facts are temporary. Being ourselves allows us to obtain many more answers and to understand our unconscious intentions. Humans may exceed their limited ideas by realizing that God does exists and that in Him, we will find the Truth and answers if we open ourselves to Him.

Self-Reliance also expresses the need for creative thinking. Society during Emerson’s era resisted reform and scorned the reformer. Emerson saw individualism in direct conflict with society. Although he often criticized society, he stressed more importantly the openness of the individual through
the soul.

The soul is the creative essence all of creation including art, which is human unity with natural things, which is expressed in Nature. In Nature the soul sees the picture of its own pure essence manifest, seeing beauty, truth, and justice in its laws. Nature in life teaches us understanding and is a practicing tool for the intellect to use in learning how to deal with life’s problems. From Emerson’s transcendental view the natural figures are also symbols of spirituals facts or philosophy. That by interacting with nature, people learn not only what is practical but also what is good; for Emerson nature and the soul are perfectly complementary.

Emerson also states that it is good to learn from the books as long as the reader keeps his creativity and way of thinking and that by practical experience we learn quickly and well. Emerson tries to makes us realize that by our own virtues and by calling on our own internal means we can find the answers to many questions, and even answers for the question we have not even shape which will help us to keep the integrity of one’s internal evolution.

Emerson believed that when people begin to realize that autonomy and the expression of your thoughts is right for them, then many good changes will happen in society. Emerson’s was one of the leaders in the extended view of progressive learning, but also offers insights into age-old or “natural method” as better than new technology based on experimentation. In many of his writings he compares the beauty of the nature, and expresses, in the writings of Nature and Self-Reliance that we can find the answers to all challenges.

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