Week 7: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism

Watch: My Video Lecture: HERE

Watch: Emerson’s House in Concord, MA

Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

“Nature” (1836)

 “Self-Reliance”  (1841)

  “American Scholar” (1837)

Post Assignment (Due: Wed. Oct. 18): Choose one section (or quote) from one of the above essays. Discuss why you chose the section and what Emerson means by it. Connect the quote/section to an example from your own experience and/or how it might apply to your life, or perhaps even change your outlook in life.


  1. Angelo.A


    A quote I wanted to write about is from Self-Reliance and the quote is, “Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide”. What I think Emerson means by this is when he says envy is ignorance, he is talking about how people envy others but dont know how much they could improve on themselves and are therefore ignorant. When he says imitation is suicide I think he means that when you become self reliant, you focus on yourself and want to create something rather than copying/immitationg another person and when you immitate you will never truly be content and happy and it really just damages you(suicide). I have actually had multiple expiriences with this because I have seen a lot of people all over social media like instagram,twitter, tik tok focus too much on other people and a lot of people say things like “I wish I was like this” or “I wish I had more of this” when in all seriousness they shouldn’t care about what other people got and should focus more on themselves.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent discussion and choice of quote Angelo.

  2. Akeria

    A quote I would like to write about is from Self-Reliance. The quote that really stood out to me was “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams”. What I think Emerson means by this quote is don’t make your problems have such a huge effect on you and just learn from your problems. When you let your problems get the best of you it can cause tension. It’s best to free yourself from it. I can relate to this quote in a way because whenever I am faced with dealing with my problems, I always overthink and have anxiety whenever I try to run from my problems instead of facing them. But then I learned that I shouldn’t run from them because it’s always a solution. Learn from your struggles and acknowledge your mistakes.

    • Mark Noonan

      Great quote and discussion but can you give a more specific example?

  3. Mariam Otero

    Emerson’s quote from “Self-Reliance,” beginning with “The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard,” highlights the idea of rejecting societal norms and standards to live in alignment with one’s own principles. Emerson emphasizes that such a rejection is not a wholesale abandonment of all standards but rather a commitment to a higher, internal standard guided by one’s authentic self. It encourages individuals to trust their inner wisdom and be true to themselves, rather than conforming to external expectations or societal norms. This way of living allows one to be a source of renewal and transformation for both themselves and the society they inhabit.

    As a single mom, I’ve encountered societal expectations and norms that don’t necessarily fit my circumstances or my vision for my family. The common perception of the “ideal” family structure often revolves around two parents, and any deviation from this norm can sometimes be seen as a rejection of popular standards. However, my experience has taught me to trust my instincts and prioritize the well-being and happiness of my son. I’ve chosen a path that might not follow typical norms but is in line with my top priority, which is my family’s well-being. Emerson’s words have made me more certain that living authentically and following my inner guidance isn’t about rejecting all standards but rather sticking to a higher, self-defined truth.

    • Mark Noonan

      Such an interesting post Mariam. You write about and embrace Emerson’s lines poignantly.

  4. Brandon Rios

    Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on self-reliance is the one I’ve picked. Emerson’s focus on uniqueness and non-conformity shines out among the many insightful passages in this article. In this passage, he exhorts readers to pursue their own intuitions and ideas rather than just going along with the herd.

    Emerson contends that genuine self-reliance entails a strong faith in one’s own ideas and instincts, even when they defy conventional wisdom. He contends that while society frequently encourages uniformity, people should have the guts to voice their own viewpoints and not be afraid to stand alone in their convictions.

    This concept resonated with me personally. I’ve discovered that valuing my uniqueness and defying social norms has resulted in personal development and a more authentic life. For instance, when I chose a career path that went against traditional expectations, it initially felt daunting, but it allowed me to follow my true passion. Over time, this decision has led to more of a fulfilling, meaningful, & authentic life.

    • Mark Noonan

      Great choice of quote and example Brandon.

  5. waleed yahya

    Quote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” From Emerson’s essay “Self reliance”.

    Emerson is telling us that it’s important to be true to ourselves. Even when people around us push us to be someone we’re not. We see people do things and we want to become like them even if it’s wrong. If a majority of people do something that doesn’t feel right to you then you don’t have to do it. He’s emphasizing the value of individuality and self expression which is very important for characteristics. 

    I chose this quote because throughout my life I felt like I have to be like everybody else. This quote reminds me that being myself and staying true to my beliefs and values is a great achievement. It makes you unique and it makes you bigger in people’s eyes. If I try to fit in somewhere I don’t belong I wouldn’t feel complete. The most important thing is that you should feel happy and complete. This quote reminds me to be myself and not do things just because everyone else does or expects me to. It’s a reminder to find my own path in life.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent quote and wise words Waleed.

  6. Jessica GP

    I personally enjoyed reading the essay Nature By Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson’s exploration of the deep bond between humans and nature resonates deeply with me. He emphasizes the idea that humans can experience a sense of wonder, admiration, and a spiritual connection when spending time contemplating and connecting with nature. As Emerson so eloquently puts it, “The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them.” here, Emerson highlights the profound connection he experienced with the world of nature, specifically the fields and woods. This passage instantly brought to mind my first scuba diving experience in the Philippines. As I descended in the ocean it felt like I had just entered a whole new world and I instantly experienced a sense of peace and excitement. I felt so spiritually connected to the giant turtles I saw swimming around me that it brought me to tears. Much like Emerson’s connection with the vegetables in the fields and woods, I sensed a profound acknowledgment from the marine life surrounding me. I hope I can continue to explore the ocean, as every time I go to this world the experience is timeless. I think that experiencing nature in any way possible is a fundamental part of our lives which we should be grateful to experience.

    • Mark Noonan

      Such a cool analogy Jessica that gets exactly to heart of Emerson’s “Nature.” You eloquently explain his point and nicely impress upon us all to try to experience it directly (and cherish it).

  7. Jimmy

    Quote from Nature

    “I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his nature.”

    I chose this quote from “Nature” because Emerson is expressing the idea that nature is not just a passive backdrop but an active, living force that resonates with the human spirit. He believes that being in nature, particularly in the wild, allows us to connect with a deeper, eternal beauty. He suggests that in these moments, the boundary between the self and the natural world dissolves, and we become one with it. 

    This quote resonates with my own experiences of spending time in the wilderness. As someone who was born and raised in the chaotic city of Brooklyn, the wilderness is the complete opposite. Whenever I go on hikes in places like Bear Mountain or Watkins Glen State Park, I frequently find that immersing myself in nature brings a profound sense of peace and harmony. The trees surrounding it have been there since before I was born and will still be standing far after I am no longer on this Earth. And sometimes, listening to the wind rustling through the trees, the gentle flow of water with nature all around can be all the healing that the mind and soul require. Although it is not tangible or something you can physically feel, it is very much present. It is in these moments that I’ve felt a deep connection to something greater than myself. It is these moments that I reflect upon and relate with Emerson’s perspective on nature and its greater good. 

    Emerson’s words remind me of the importance of regularly seeking out these experiences in nature to renew my spirit, gain perspective, and connect with a profound sense of beauty and wonder. It encourages me to prioritize spending time in the natural world and to appreciate the uncontained and immortal beauty that can be found there. 

    • Mark Noonan

      Very rich and Emersonian post Jimmy. Thanks for reminding us all to get into our natural landscapes for necessary renewal.

  8. Fiama

    Self-Reliance, 1841.

    The quote that stood out was, “If great men could be so ordinary. Why should not ordinary men be great.” Emerson explains how people try to follow the views of others without exploring their own beliefs and views in their lives. He talks about the uniqueness of each person and that we should use that to form our ideas. The world has a lot of influences, and people follow that influence to try to fit in with the norms. Emerson encourages people to follow their path and create their ideas without having to please anyone other than themselves. The most crucial part is that we should value our individuality and enjoy the path of finding ourselves.

    This quote relates to me because I think I follow other people’s ideas and beliefs even if I don’t believe in them. I think going to college helped me grow more compared to high school. Emerson makes me think about how we ignore what we need and feel to fit in with everyone. Also, growing up with the same people can influence what we do, but at some point in life, we branch out and explore more. The quote made me feel we can all be different and have different ideas. But still have individuality.

    • Mark Noonan

      Nicely nuanced discussion Fiama on the evolution of the soul and mind as well as the development of your own unique individuality.

  9. Sarah Munassar

    Self-Reliance: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Part A:

    I selected Emerson’s quote in his “Self-Reliance” essay because it embodies the spirit of exploration, individuality, and innovation, encouraging us to break away from conformity and become trailblazers. It promotes self-reliance and non-conformity, challenging us to follow our instincts and values even if they depart from the norm. It is based on Emerson’s transcendentalist philosophy. This worldview fosters new viewpoints, hidden truths, and societal advancement. In essence, Emerson promotes personal development and societal advancement through individual courage and uniqueness, blazing a trail in uncharted territory that not only enhances our lives but also prepares the way for others, ultimately benefiting humanity as a whole. This quote reminds us that accepting uncertainty and our individuality can result in tremendous personal and societal transformations.

    Part B:

    I want to start by saying that I live by this quote, which remains one of my life’s greatest mottos. Since I come from a community where people copy and follow one another and are afraid to take risks by forging their own paths, I can’t even begin to convey how much it irritates me when someone does something and then the rest do the same thing. I want to stand out from the crowd and pave my own path for the people in my community who are afraid to take risks. Even though I haven’t had a chance to start my life, I’ve already received hate and discouragement from people I don’t even know. I’m an overachiever with too much potential to waste. It doesn’t bother me since I have so much faith in myself that I don’t even allow doubt to enter my mind (thankfully). I don’t want to talk about negativity, but I will say this: after telling me I couldn’t succeed at a given milestone, those people always return and adopt my mindset. I enjoy being a positive influence, but them hating and then coming back irritates me, and it has happened many times in the past and in the present. Haters will hate, but don’t worry; you’ll have those who support you, and for me, that’s definitely my parents, and I hope I can make them proud and show them my true potential. Yes, I will continue to use this in the future because everyone has a distinct background, a different path, and various methods of leaving their trail behind.

    • Mark Noonan

      Wise words, Sarah, in the true Emersonian spirit!

  10. Nia


    I chose this quote because Emerson emphasizes the importance of a direct, personal connection to nature in his essay “Nature.” A discussion of this theme could examine how modern society is shifting away from such connections and the potential benefits of reconnecting with nature. As the quote states, “Nature never wears a mean appearance.” As Emerson suggests, nature never became a toy to a wise spirit, and neither does the wisest man extort her secret or lose his curiosity when he discovers all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit”. Nature, in all its forms, never seems ordinary or insignificant. Nature always presents itself in a dignified and admirable manner, as suggested by the phrase “never wears a mean appearance.” Further, he implies that even the wisest individuals cannot fully comprehend or unravel all of nature’s secrets. Nature, according to Emerson, is not something to be trivialized or treated as a mere plaything by a wise person; rather, it keeps the sense of wonder alive by keeping one’s curiosity alive. By maintaining its profound and mysterious qualities, it continues to captivate the wise spirit to this day. In my opinion, this quote would change my outlook on life because it implies an acceptance of imperfection and an understanding that growth and development are continuing processes.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very thoughtful reading Nia. I really liked your point about how we need to accept our so-called imperfections.

  11. Roussena Jean Pierre

    One of the Emerson’s well known quote in his essay ” nature” is; “to go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society.”( Pg 3)

    Emerson means that if one has to discover himself he should disengage from the daily life distractions. Emerson stresses the significance of seeking nature and solitude as a way of discovering oneself. 

    I have found spending time in solitude quite interesting and helpful. That way I get time to think and evaluate myself in order to rediscover myself. For instance, one of the weekends I went on a camping trip far away on the beach. I had disconnected myself from the daily life interruptions such as media and technology. There was no music, watching television and also there was no noise from the city, all I did was connect with nature. This way I felt a profound sense of clarity and calm. While watching the waves on the beach, I related how life sometimes can be full of waves and other times it can be calm.

    This experience and quote reminds me of the significance of finding time to connect with nature and moments of solitude in order to form a deeper connection with nature, rejuvenate spiritually as well as discover oneself. One can take a break from the constant distractions of present and noise with the purpose of spiritual renewal and self-discovery. One should disengage from both mental and physical distractions including the demands of the society in order to frankly connect with nature.

    • Mark Noonan

      Roussena, You get at the heart of Emerson’s wisdom here about getting away to really find and be our own true selves.

  12. Bai Ngai

    Quote from The American Scholar

    “Life is a journey, not a destination”

    From this quote, Emerson emphasizes that life should be viewed as a neverending adventure. Throughout life, people will continue to experience different outcomes and situations. Emerson goes into detail about his own philosophical views about how life will continue to evolve, as will the person going through it. Emerson speaks about how different types of people from different working classes, go through a process of evolving because of the situation they went through. “Young men of the fairest promise, who begin life upon our shores, inflated by the mountain winds, shined upon by all the stars of God, find the earth below not in unison with these, — but are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust”

    As a New Yorker, I’ve been through the craziest situations in life, whether it be school or work. The number of times I’ve wanted to just give up on a hobby to pursue another hobby, drop out of school, or switch jobs, helped me realize the bigger picture. Forcing myself to go through these different experiences and taking my time, allowed me to gain knowledge I did not have before. The more situations or outcomes I place myself in, I will as a individual evolve.

    • Mark Noonan

      Bai, You picked such a great quote here and relate it well to your own dogged determination to stay your course.

  13. Carolyn

    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Quote From “ Self-Reliance”

    This quote speaks to the essence of individuality and the challenges we face in preserving our authentic selves amidst societal pressures. Emerson recommend us to stay true to ourselves, suggesting that it’s more valuable than any external achievement. He implies that the world often pushes us towards conformity, and resisting that push is not just an act of rebellion but an affirmation of one’s unique worth. 

    A real life experience could be, a high school student who has a passion for art but feels pressured to pursue a more “stable” career path like computer science or medicine because of family expectations. This student might spend years studying a subject they’re not passionate about, only to realize later they’ve sacrificed their true calling. If they choose to follow Emerson’s advice, they’d pursue art wholeheartedly, believing that staying true to oneself is the ultimate achievement. By doing so, not only would they find personal satisfaction, but they could also inspire others to follow their own paths.

    • Mark Noonan

      You chose a great quote here Carolyn and discuss it well.

  14. Glory Omoruyi

    The quote I choose is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance” (1841):

    “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.”

    I find this quote particularly powerful because Emerson is emphasizing the importance of individualism and trusting one’s own thoughts and ideas. He argues that genuine wisdom and genius come from believing in one’s unique abilities and not conforming to the expectations and opinions of others. This quote resonates with me because it affirm my view, experiences, and has shaped my trajectory and beliefs in life. Especially in a world where social conformity and social pressure often shape our beliefs and actions. It encourages me to trust my own intuition and convictions, even if they differ from societal norm. It reminds me that my perspective has value, and by staying true to it, I can contribute something meaningful to the world. Reading this quote I figured that, applying this principle to life will allowed people to make decisions and choices that align more closely with they true self, rather than simply following the crowd. It has given me the courage to pursue my passions, take risks, and embrace my own unique path, even when it might not be the most conventional one. I belief in being unique, even if it means standing out in a group. I value my choices and that has always make me proud. Emerson’s message in this quote from “Self-Reliance” is to reinforced the importance of individualism and self-trust in my life, encouraging people to be true to they own thoughts and beliefs, which will ultimately allow them lead a more authentic and fulfilling life.

    • Mark Noonan

      You picked what I too think is Emerson’s greatest and most powerful line, Glory. You discuss his points eloquently.

  15. Luis Delgado

    “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after out own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    I chose this quote from Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”. The meaning behind the quote reflects the ideas of individualism and self-reliance, key themes in Emerson’s philosophy. He displays two ways of thinking. The first “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion:” means that Many people rely on societal norms and go along with the popular opinion and trends. It is easy to do this because it doesn’t require much thinking, and little introspect. The second “it is easy in solitude to live after out own;” Means that its easy to be true to yourself when you are alone, because there are little influences making it easy to align yourself with your own values. But when Emerson mentions the “Great man” he is saying that someone who can maintain their independence even when living among a crowd or society is considered an exceptional person. Especially when living in the midst of a society in which their norms conflict with your own. This means you don’t fall under pressure of the norms of society and do not commit the fallacy of appealing to the people and are true to your values when push comes to shove.

    I can sympathize with this quote because there are many traditions and norms in my family that I grew up thinking was okay, but as I grew older and formed and independence and thought for myself and discovered that they were unfair. Same with friends, I usually appeal to my friends opinions because I thought that we had the same values but as I got to know them more their thoughts and morals were different from mine. I can empathize with the quote because especially in today’s society, it is important to have faith in yourself and your morals and stick with them.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent choice of quote and discussion , Luis.

  16. Rujin Chen

    “The American Scholar”

    This is a controversial speech back in that time. In this piece, Emerson explained to the Phi Betta Kappa Society at Cambridge (now Harvard), the high education institution, the elite of the elite, that they were not actually as great as they believed, and neither was the academic world that shaped them. Throughout the address, Emerson explains that we are not “men” and, instead we have become things, layers of society instead of the essence of society. Then, my question is, “who am I?”  have we become what we’ve been told to be, not what we were born to be? In this speech, Emerson explains that without “action,” nothing will change.

    Comparable to the “non-conformist” in “Self-Reliance,Emerson says that instead of being “mere thinkers” or “parrots of other men’s thinking,” man must strive to be “Man Thinking.” Am I a conformist, or a non-conformist?

    His speech is a scathing critique of education, one that explains that schools don’t create the “man,” the thinker capable of mentoring and shaping genius; instead, schools have created “the bookworm. Hence the book learned class, who values books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and the soul.” Instead of shaping new genius, colleges create, “the restorers of readings, the emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees.” Emerson went on to explain that books, when used correctly, are the best of things. But the main benefit of books is to INSPIRE. Instead, academia teaches students to memorize and regurgitate. And if that is the case, what is “school” teaching?

    Are we being “inspired” in these institutes of learning? Or just “copy and paste?”

    Emerson’s essays inspire my thoughts about the relationship among “recognition, action, and result.” Do we really know who we are, or we know who we are when we were told who we are. Based on recognition, what we know affects how we act. How we act impacts the results in many ways under the time evolved. In self-aware perspective, and self-reflective perspective, how people know there’s a problem in a situation that people must admit that there is one or more problems existing. However, the truth as what other people told is becoming lies once self-reliance people find their own inspiration in their own “infidelity” and become non-conformity that choose the truth consists in processing to believe what people do not believe. When making choices in our lives, to admit the wrong thing, change it with right action, and accept the followed result in being self-reliance state is greatly impacted. People in different state of mind, takes different actions, results would come out greatly different because people make different choices based on their recognition, be aware of the choices and embrace the truth of who you are and what you believe in is important.

    • Mark Noonan

      Rujin, You were a real non-conformist in choosing to discuss this incredible essay, which no other student chose! This is a very astute post. It’s clear that you yourself have followed closely the Emersonian dictum of “Man (or Woman) Thinking”.

  17. Mumin Khan

    “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I chose this quote because, while I deeply appreciate and respect those who have paved the way before me and can offer valuable guidance, I am driven by a strong desire to prove that I can succeed on my own terms. Rather than solely relying on established paths or seeking help to overcome life’s challenges, I want to demonstrate my capability to carve my own unique path to success. This desire isn’t necessarily driven by ego but rather a determination to be self-reliant and to showcase my ability to thrive independently.

    In my own life, I faced a challenging decision or obstacle. I was at a crossroads in my career and had the option to follow the well-trodden path within my industry, where success seemed more certain. However, I was also drawn to the idea of starting my own business, venturing into uncharted territory.

    In this situation, choosing to “go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” would mean taking the entrepreneurial route. It would require me to trust in my own ideas, take calculated risks, and create a business from scratch, without the safety net of an established career. This choice may have initially seemed daunting and might have faced uncertainties and setbacks along the way.

    However, by embracing Emerson’s philosophy and pursuing the path less traveled, I not only demonstrated my self-reliance but also experienced personal and professional growth. I discovered innovative solutions and strategies that were uniquely my own, which ultimately led to the success of my career. In the process, I left a trail for others who might have been hesitant to follow their entrepreneurial aspirations.

    This experience has changed my outlook by reinforcing the idea that, while following established paths can be safe and comfortable, there is immense value in taking risks and pursuing your own vision. It may have instilled in me a greater sense of self-confidence, creativity, and independence. Now understand that forging your own path, even if it means facing obstacles, can lead to more fulfilling and meaningful accomplishments, ultimately shaping your life in a way that aligns with my personal values and aspirations.

    • Mark Noonan

      Mumin, Excellent choice of quote . I also really like how you discuss it in relation to your own chosen path.

  18. Christina Bethelmy

        Based on the “Nature” essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson,

    “Nature is a setting that fits equally well with a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.” This comment struck me because it relates to the concept that fear is a natural sensation that keeps us safe. It also reminds me of the phrase “if you’re not afraid, you’re not alive/living.” I can connect to this since I have many opinions on why life might be difficult, good, upsetting, or sad, but these are normal sensations that make me feel as if I never had a unique/original experience of my own because we are all in some manner living through a similar circumstance. Common life events might be wonderful or awful, and you just have to construct your own experiences, just like everything in nature does.

    • Mark Noonan

      You pick a very beautiful passage from Emerson to discuss here, Christina. You discuss and explain it well.

  19. Taylor Edwards

    American Scholar

    “I ask not for the great, the remote, the romantic; what is doing in Italy or Arabia; what is Greek art, or Provençal minstrelsy; I embrace the common; I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

    I chose this section because it speaks to Emerson’s belief that knowledge is not solely gained through great works of literature or art from distant lands, but rather from the everyday experiences and people in our own lives. He believes that wisdom can be found in the ordinary and familiar, and it is our duty to seek it out.

    Personally, I have often found myself seeking out grand experiences and adventures in search of knowledge and growth. However, this quote has reminded me that sometimes the most valuable lessons and insights can come from the people and experiences that I encounter in my daily life. It has prompted me to be more present and attentive in my interactions with others, as they may be the source of valuable knowledge and perspective.

    Furthermore, this quote has made me reevaluate my outlook on success and achievement. I used to measure my accomplishments by grand feats and exotic experiences. However, Emerson’s words have challenged me to redefine success in a way that values the small and commonplace as much as the big and unusual. By doing so, I can find fulfillment and growth in my daily life, rather than just in moments of excitement or adventure.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very interesting discussion Taylor.

  20. Sajeevan

    Emerson’s Self-Reliance

    One quote from Emerson’s Self Reliance I chose is “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”(Emerson) I chose this quote because it talks about peace and everyone needs peace in their life to live a happy life. What Emerson means in this quote is don’t look for peace outside and the only person that can give you peace is yourself. This quote can apply to my life because I always look for peace outside and I couldn’t find it. After reading this I am going to look for peace within myself.

    • Mark Noonan

      Well said, Sajeevan!

  21. Carolina

    Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    In this essay, Emerson speaks about individualism and encourages people to trust their own instincts and beliefs. A quote that stood out to me is “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Emerson emphasizes the idea of being true to yourself. He believes that people should not be afraid to be different and not seek the approval or guidance of others. People may criticize others because they may seem different but it is what makes them great. To think for yourself and making your own choices is what makes you in a way happier with yourself too because you lived the way you want to. You don’t wait for someones approval nor try to fit in with society.

    This quote can apply to my life experiences because I’ve been able to resist negative influences on life. We’ve all been teenagers so I’m sure it can apply to many but its a reminder that I stayed true to myself and didn’t try to fit in although it is tempting.

  22. Taylor Edwards

    The American Scholar

    Quote: “The scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men’s thinking.”

    I chose this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” because it highlights the transformative power of true scholarship and the dangers of intellectual conformity. In this section, Emerson distinguishes between two states of being for the scholar. The first state, which he considers the “right state,” is being a “Man Thinking.” This implies that the true scholar is not merely a passive receiver of information but an active thinker who independently reflects, analyzes, and forms their own ideas. The scholar in this state embodies intellectual liberation and creative expression.

    However, Emerson warns against the degenerate state where the scholar becomes a “mere thinker” or, even worse, a “parrot of other men’s thinking.” This state represents a loss of originality and personal perspective, as one succumbs to societal pressures, molds themselves to the thoughts of others, and lacks the critical thinking necessary for intellectual growth.

    This quote resonates with my own experience and outlook on life. As a content creator, I constantly face the temptation to conform to popular opinions or mimic the ideas and thoughts of others. However, Emerson’s words remind me of the importance of maintaining intellectual integrity and fostering independent thinking. It encourages me to embrace my role as a “Man Thinking” and strive for originality in my work.

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