The Good Life : Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

The Good Life : Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

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The Good Life
The good life, can be described as a multitude of different things for many different people and often varies within cultures and generations. While basic desires of the good life often include good health, wealth, and companionship, we all usually desire a bit more, personal wants. As discussed in class and throughout the readings, each philosopher presented to us had varying degrees of what they consider to be the good life and ways in which the good life can be achieved. While each philosopher had certain appealing aspects to there argument, I felt that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea of the good life best fit with desires and beliefs I previously held about life. It is especially easy, in our current society, to fall into the ways of those around us and lose our individuality. Despite having a rebellious heart by nature, I can often find myself conforming to those around me in order to fit in with everyone else. I believe that conformity is the silent killer of this generation’s individuality and for me to live a good life, I have to break away from this cycle of conformity and truly become and individual. As we are have heard time and time again, no one has ever changed the world by being like everyone else. This good life I strive to live, includes this idea of cutting that which connects me everyone else and changing my world and the world around me. According to Emerson, “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion;...” (212). I interpret this as the belief we must matured threw proper education to understand that we are each our own individual. In other words, we must...


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...because we are “more blessed” than others we need to give back and help them. But the fact is we only do so for the assurance from others and because we feel a sense of guilt for our being better off than others. Society needs to let the individuals determine on their own what they choose to do, free from the pressures of others. We are constantly concerned with what others think of us that we become trapped in self absorption which is a cause of unhappiness, according to Emerson. We as a society must also encourage individuality and creativity and not punish those who defy the normal. Conformity in today’s society is far more prevalent than individuality and this is showing to become detrimental to the advancements of our people. We need to place an emphasis on discovering your true self while discouraging conformity and focusing on inward behaviors and attitudes.

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