The idea of self reliance is an american idea

If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition, and comes to me with his last news from Barbadoes, why should I not say to him, 'Go love thy infant; love thy wood-chopper: be good-natured and modest: have that grace; and never varnish your hard, uncharitable ambition with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off.

The gods love him because men hated him. He is a retained attorney, and these airs of the bench are the emptiest affectation.

Self reliance summary

My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment. We fancy it rhetoric, when we speak of eminent virtue. Expect me not to show cause why I seek or why I exclude company. Character teaches above our wills. Self-reliance is its aversion. We have flashes of brilliance in our ideas, artwork or writing, but our fears stop us before we can even try. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. He relates how he was introduced to the quotation while reviewing proofs of an article with his co-authors. Thus all concentrates: let us not rove; let us sit at home with the cause. It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. Conformity, according to Emerson, is death to an individual. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue.

The picture waits for my verdict: it is not to command me, but I am to settle its claims to praise. In proportion to the depth of the thought, and so to the number of the objects it touches and brings within reach of the pupil, is his complacency. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams.

self reliance poem

I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. Why should we assume the faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child, because they sit around our hearth, or are said to have the same blood?

It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.

It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries.

self reliance in american culture

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.

self reliance essays
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Emerson and the Dream of America