Essay about Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

Essay about Ralph Waldo Emerson And Henry David Thoreau

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The difference between a rock and a human truly just comes down to a few different variations of carbon molecules. Yet this straightforward science ignores why humans, in all of their complexity, stem from such a random happenstance. Only knowing this science of life has not necessarily led to understanding its meaning. For that answer, famed transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau look within the self, rather than in a laboratory. In his essay, Self-Reliance, Emerson hypothesizes the meaning to be in independence; whereas, Thoreau, from his nature experience in Walden, theorizes it to be in simplicity. At the least, Thoreau finds it in a life without an intrusive government, which is the reason he pens Civil Disobedience. But these discrepancies in detail should not mask the men’s fundamental advice: merely following intuition can achieve a meaningful existence.
A person must accept that intuition, or else he or she risks living to another’s wishes. Emerson examines this trend early in his essay. As he begins the passage, he praises the nonconformists for already understanding their own worth. He writes to the others: “Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world” (Emerson n.pag.). Instead of one uniform definition, the meaning of life, according to Emerson, depends on the individual asking. Despite each life being inherently different, all of them should start out essentially the same, with men and women accepting themselves. They may not literally gain the unwavering support, referred here as the “suffrage of the world,” but those individuals do gain the self-confidence to disregard public opinion. Their belief in themselves allows them to live lives without the fear of judgment.
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...tly to enjoy the world.
A meaningful life, much like the independent self, has no typical definition; it bases its success solely on people’s instincts. Their intuition should not only vary with their peers’, but it should also fulfill them in ways that other combined desires cannot. This unique print on the world ought to be defended from the pressures of society and authority figures, which can both attempt to squander a person’s moral compass for their own agenda. Ironically, in society’s attempt to define individuals’ ambitions for them, it weakens its own foundation: the people themselves. Society is started and shaped by the distinct wants and needs of its people. It might as well start appreciating their citizens for whom they are as individuals. Maybe, then, will those people start doing it for themselves, even if they all are really just molecules of carbon.

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