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Response to "Self-Reliance".

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Introduction

Response to "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson I believe that, essentially, life consists of a series of choices. A grouping of these choices in one direction or another makes us who we are, and ultimately we have control over our lives. What makes one person different from another is his own set of choices. When going through life's motions, we develop certain worldviews and ideas and values to live by. We develop an opinion of what makes a person "great." In the well-known essay "Self-Reliance", Ralph Waldo Emerson provides a beautiful way of approaching these choices, and he reveals a very inspiring set of values centralized around going through life answering only to yourself. I love the way Emerson evaluates the society we live in, and how he radically encourages being misunderstood and nonconformist. Emerson, like myself, exhibits values of saying exactly what you think and living only by what you believe to be the best. ...read more.

Middle

The virtue of request is conformity. Self-Reliance is its aversion." In everything that I do I decide to go the road less traveled, I make the choice to see something in a different way than everyone else. I choose not to wear the same clothes as most people do, I choose to always say what is on my mind and I try my hardest to not let what people may think of me interfere with what I say I and do. I consider myself a non-conformist for these reasons. Even when it comes to culture: I would much prefer the independent, locally-owned video shop where I can find obscure movies to the gigantic Blockbuster. I don't choose to listen to Popular music or buy the CD's of artists being shoved down our throats by MTV. I choose to find my own flavor, to disregard the overwhelming majority to the best of my ability. My feelings go along with Emerson's again in "Self-Reliance": "A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he." ...read more.

Conclusion

Emerson also notes that the greatest "pure and wise" people of all history were misunderstood: "Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood." I am very glad to have read Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance" because it helps me define who I am and what I want to get out of life. It puts into words what I have felt day to day my entire life, and even more refreshingly lets me know that it is what makes great humans great. It lets me know that it is important to realize that all choices in life come down to what I, myself, believe in. Emerson tells me it is all right to go against what may be expected of me because it is my life and if I am to live it to the fullest, it is a wonderful thing to be able to do what I feel I must do, and that is what will ensure happiness for me. ...read more.

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