Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Father of Free Thought

Emerson points out the importance of one's own thoughts.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered to be the leader from which the transcendental movement emanated. In his 1888 essay, “Self-Reliance”, Emerson works to convince his readers that it is right to believe one’s own thoughts and declare them aloud, even if others disagree. The transcendental movement took place just after the Industrial Revolution- am epoch bursting with new technologies and ideas. Emerson writes that amidst these new ideas, we must not lose ourselves. Amidst these new ideas we must strive not to conform, but to “believe what is true for you in your private heart.” That having been said, holding beliefs not contradictory to those of the general population should not be looked down upon. Although Emerson states that “To be great is to be misunderstood,” it must be taken into consideration that one’s beliefs may truly accord with those of society. In these excerpts, Emerson is trying to convince the reader to follow their intuition and shirk ideas not aligning to their own beliefs. As he went on to lead the transcendental movement, Emerson continued to preach self-reliance as opposed to conformity.

Emerson explains why trusting one's own thoughts it good.

Formal Citation of text: Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Self Reliance. 1841. Ralph Waldo Emerson Texts. January 12, 2015.