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Integrity and Intuition as The Heart of an Individual in Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Integrity and Intuition as The Heart of an Individual in Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson essay

Emerson wrote self reliance and argued that self sufficiency is the thing that give people the freedom to find their true self. Emerson states “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in you private heart, is true for all men,–that is genius.” (pg. 641). This tells us the Emerson was a man who thought that people were to believe in themselves and do what they think is right in their own views. He also explains, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string” (pg. 642). By this, he means that everyone should trust themselves and know that every decision they make should come from their heart and what they believe in. This also ties somewhat into what Thoreau argues.

Thoreau argued that people should be disobedient to the laws that the government have created that are considered not right to each person. Thoreau claims, “Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any incorporated society which I have not joined” (pg. 921). By this he was trying to explain how he was not going to participate in things that he did not think was right in his heart so he decided not to pay the tax and be locked up in jail. He chooses to disobey the government because he thought that the idea of paying the tax was wrong and he did not want to be a part in the government law so he followed his decision in his heart. This shows that he supported the idea that people should follow their heart and what they think is right and wrong.

Emerson believes in self reliance as he thinks it is how someone can find their true self. Thoreau argues the with the statement that people should disobey the laws that are not considered acceptable such as slavery and other laws made okay by the government. They both tended to be somewhat similar because they both had that theme of living life to better self. Self reliance and civil disobedience are somewhat similar in the sense that they persuade people to be themselves and do what is right.


Emerson talks in his introduction of “Nature” about how we all try to understand the world through theories rather than observing it with our own eyes. As Emerson states, “Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. Let us inquire, to what end is nature?” as he thinks that everyone should go and experience nature directly and not go by what is theorized because it distances us from nature (pg. 592). Then, in chapter 1, Emerson talks about how people perceive the nature around them as he observes the stars. He explains, “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown” (pg.594). By this he is making a very valid point that people do not realize how special nature is because it happens all the time around us. Emerson wants it to be known that nature is a special thing given to us by God and that every person should participate in observing nature around us, for we never know how long we will have such a special thing.

Thoreau explains in “Where I lived and What I Lived For” about his view on nature and how he desired to be close to nature and far from society. This is why he chose Walden as his place to live because it was free from society and the village and close to nature so that he could be inspired. He explains where he lived by expressing that “the winds which passed over my dwelling were such as sweep over the ridges of the mountain, bearing the broken strains, or celestial parts only, of terrestrial music” (pg. 94). As he explain his living area, you can tell that he is very into nature like Emerson and thinks that people should stray away from society and indulge themselves more into nature.

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Integrity and Intuition as the Heart of an Individual in Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson. (2018, August 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from
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