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The Author's Beliefs of Self-trust in Self-reliance, an Essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In Class Write: Puritanism/Transcendentalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Self Reliance to point out how the people in this world have let themselves deteriorate into society. Emerson considers that “man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say, ‘I think’, ‘I am’, but quotes some saint or sage”. By this Emerson shows that he sees how many people do not say what they want to say and merely just repeat what a scholar or professor has said. He considers that most people do not have the confidence to state their own opinions. In Self Reliance, Emerson wrote about his beliefs of self-trust and of how so many people have lost their way by just trailing behind someone who has the confidence to be a leader.

Emerson states in his work that all humans should leaders and not followers. Every person has the ability to be a leader and not just sit around a listen to what others day. He believes that people should want to take control of their lives and do what they want to do. I agree with Emerson and that people should be leaders and take control over their lives. I have seen through numerous experiences that everyone has the capability to be a leader and that the world. From my experiences there is a time for everyone to be a leader and the rest to listen to what that person. You do not have to be a leader in every situation to think like a leader. I feel that most of the time it is always one single person who is the leader in any group setting, which is not always the best for the situation. Even though some people are natural born frontrunners, they do not always deal with situations in positive ways. There are times when the expected leaders need to step down and let others take control. As Emerson said all humans are no longer strong and outspoken. People just follow what another says to do. Emerson’s whole article was about having confidence in one’s self. He outwardly says that people need to become who they truly are and not just what society want.

Emerson also talks about how man is afraid to state their opinions onto the world. He says that people need to be more assertive and have stronger faith in what they believe in. Emerson states that people will not say, “I think; I am”, people are afraid to admit to the world what they believe or what they are thinking. Many people feel that they cant say what they want in fear that it is wrong or will be judged for their outlook on the world. Emerson states that since people do not formulate their own opinions, they are left with having to just say what others have said before. People are not verbalizing their opinions therefore the world has no diversity in what is said and written. It is all the same thing just repeated and rephrased by different people. I think that what Emerson says is partly true. I feel that it isn’t so much that people do not have opinion, it is more of the fact that people do not want to express them as much as others do. As of present day I think that there still are people who do not share their beliefs with everyone to avoid conflict and other encounters but there are plenty of people who feel that they have to share their belief. A large number of today’s youth have very strong attitudes towards topics like equality, the environment or women’s rights. Many people feel that the only way to make a change is to make a big stink about what they want. Weather it might be through a protest or a petition, people always feel the need to state their stances on the topic. While today there are many outspoken people among us, we still have individuals who prefer not to get involved in such events. From Emerson’s work, he makes it seem like every single person in the world has no opinions and is just a follower but in our community today, I would say there is a good balance of opinionated people and those who prefer to keep their opinions more quiet.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s work, Self Reliance, is his views on how people should act and what they should be saying.

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