Self-Reliance In The Dial, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

1638 Words7 Pages
Emerson's insistence upon self-reliance is a demand for self-belief, non-conformity, and inconsistency. As an editor of The Dial, a transcendental journal, Emerson wrote the essay Self-Reliance for all men and teenagers unwilling to be ordinary on their path to self-realization. Emerson uses metaphors and analogies to express his idea that one should act singly, following his own nature. However, Emerson overestimates the power of individuals: ignoring the role of the community in our daily life and neglecting to objectively assess our environment can lead to a vicious circle of self-aggrandizement and narcissism. The first year of my high school, in the math class, I changed the answers I was not sure of during the quizzes. After I got my…show more content…
In his own words, “It seems to be a rule of wisdom never rely on your memory along, …, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day” (7). Emerson urges us not to evaluate based solely on our memory. We need to have multiple, different views on any single thing. He admits that situations can change, so we should reconsider our decisions even if new decision contradicts what we knew. The “thousand-eyed present” uses imagery and personification, both to suggests that each person has his own view and to demonstrate that, every time we reexamine the same thing, we learn something new. That’s the reason he advised us to go with our nature. He compares our will as the trace of the ships. “The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency” (7). He thinks if we go with our nature, even if we change our mind many times, our ultimate destination will be consistent with who we really are and what is most right for us. We should just go ahead and do as we like, even change our mind, without hesitation and compromise. The analogy of comparing our original intention with a ships’ voyage is clear. We may start from different places, but we will end up at our intended destination. And the processing might not be the…show more content…
However, I do believe we couldn’t ignore the importance of the society. Coming from China, the cultural differences are tremendous. Compared to current western society, Chinese society is more reliant on the relationship between people. We were taught to build our own relation net in childhood. We Chinese believe harmony is most important. Though each person can only deal with a very small part of the problem, we believe we can solve the problem together using our relationship network. We also believe balance is important. Chinese people believe that all should be treated equally and that nobody should cross social boundaries. So, people should not only be able to solve problem, but also maintain and enlarge their relationship network. And so, I feel that community is as important as

More about Self-Reliance In The Dial, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Open Document