History[ edit ] The first hint of the philosophy that would become "Self-Reliance" was presented by Ralph Waldo Emerson as part of a sermon in September a month after his first marriage. Richardson wrote, "Immortality had never been stronger or more desperately needed! These lectures were never published separately, but many of his thoughts in these were later used in "Self-Reliance" and several other essays. This new philosophy drew upon old ideas of Romanticism, Unitarianism, and German Idealism.
Abounding with short aphorisms, the essay begins with an admonition to believe in the true self, which is considered in essence identical with the Universal Spirit: Senseless philanthropy, which encourages dependence on outside help, is thus also thought to be detrimental. Acting in accordance with true feeling, he believes, will automatically bring about a sound life.
Viewed in light of self, history is thus the biography of a few unusually powerful figures. Having emphasized the importance of nonconformity, he begins to explore the philosophical basis for self-reliance.
According to Emerson, there is an instinct or intuition in each individual drawing upon the Universal Spirit as the ever-dependable guiding principle. Whereas Christ alone has traditionally been regarded as the Word made flesh, Emerson regards every human potentially as a reincarnation of the Word.
Consequently, regret of the past and prayer for the future as a means to effect private ends are both diseases of human will and should be avoided. As a result of this moralistic view, society, like nature, may change but never advance. Typical of his conclusions, the end of this essay, which repeats the theme of self-reliance and predicts the subjugation of Chance under human will based on self-reliance, sounds greatly optimistic.In his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson became the most widely known man of letters in America, establishing himself as a prolific poet, essayist, popular lecturer, and an advocate of social reforms who was nevertheless suspicious of reform and reformers.
Emerson achieved some reputation with his verse. Ralph Waldo Emerson ( - ) was an American philosopher, essayist and poet of the early Modern period. He was the leader of the Transcendentalism movement in the midth Century.
He was considered one of the great orators of the time, and his enthusiasm and respect for his audience enraptured crowds. Complete summary of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Nature.
Through communion with nature, one is able to transcend oneself and this world. The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Edward Waldo Emerson, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 12 volumes, –4 The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed.
Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes. 10 vols., Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, – "Self-Reliance" is an essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes: the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow their own instincts and ideas.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Nature" begins with a lament about people's willingness to accept easy answers about nature, rather than experiencing it for themselves.
It then moves to a discussion about the nature of true solitude, followed by a discussion of the various ways that nature gives people.