Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emerson Aphorism

Please cite the aphorism that struck you the most in Self Reliance. An aphorism is a short statment that expresses wise or clever observations about life. Please elaborate on its meaning and the overall significance and connection to you. Was there anything you disagreed with regarding Emerson's insights? Explain.

14 comments:

ashleighm said...

The statement that Emerson makes that struck me to be the most truthful is when he says, "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think." I think society needs to think about this statement more. People tend to think too much about what others think and say about them, more than what they think about themselves. Society is made up of many followers and hardly any leaders. Those who follow do so because they don't trust their own opinion, or they think too highly of other's opinions. Following others ideas and opinions all the time has become a sort of trend. In some cases, if you do not follow what others do, than you are considered an "outsider". I think this may be a good thing in some cases, but as far as not allowing yourself to be the person you should only causes confusion.
People are confused nowadys because they don't follow their own ideas or priorities. In the same paragraph, Emerson states, "...the great man id he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness of independece of solitude." What I think he is trying to say is that it is wasy in society to follow everyone else, but the people who stay themselves and keep to their own ways are the people who stand out the most. I think that one of the most important things someone can do is trust themself and regard their opinions more than others.

Brynns said...

The first paragraph on the Self Reliance hand out stuck out to me the most. I summed it up to say "think what you want, be true to yourself". I think that alot of people in order to fit in try to be like that clique. Where is the originality? I know that alot of the time people are afraid of what others think but honestly, who cares? I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. Being yourself can give you that sense of being. You wont feel like just another mindless robot waiting for the "head" of your clique to tell you whats cute and whats not. Make your foot print in the world.

Tiffanyvvv said...

The statement that struck me the most was the metaphor he said with wind and media/newspaper, "like their sweet faces, have no deep cause, but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs." I thought it was a clever way to say that the media doesn't only persuade us but directs us of where and how to live life. This statement is absolutely true, look at how we dress, look, talk, and even think about life through the media. Gossiping and judging grew with magazines like the Enquirer. The way we look and dress come from the latest fashion magazines like Vogue. Media controls many things and we can't really stop it...People have grown to live with it as a routine in there lives, but they have a choice to live with it. I agree with some of what Emerson says but I’m not going to exclude myself from society and what we do wrong. I felt that Emerson thought he was better than society, better than the people around him in some of the paper. I don’t know if it’s just me but I thought he was just too judgmental about the society, there might be followers around but I still think everyone has individuality and self reliance.

sschacher said...

The theme that struck me the most about self-reliance was to live every day as if it were your last and don't try to be someone else because it is a waste. In this world today there are too many people that are worried about what they look like and how they act around others. It shouldn't matter how you look or what you do. If someone wants to be your friend then they should like you for who you are and not who you are trying to be. Not only do you want to be yourself so others can see who you truly are but it makes you better as a person and you feel more complete about the things you do.

David H. said...

The aphorism of Emerson's that I agree with most is the lines, "Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adapted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession."
I agree with this statement because many people today believe that if they look or act like someone they idolize, others will admire and respect them. They don't realize that they have the potential to be great just by finding themselves. We need to look into our hearts and find out what we really like to do, not what others like to do. Don't be a shadow, you'll just get stepped on.

manesa c said...

I thought the second aphorism struck me the most because it talked about how you have to take yourself for you who are. You are the happiest when you have work hard and done your best. I find that very true because I think that you cannot change yourself because you are born the way you are. So you have to like yourself for who you are because you will not change. When you work the hardest that is when you feel the best because you feel like you have actually accomplished something by yourself.

Matt M. said...

“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” This aphorism was interesting to me because it points out the fact that “good” and “bad” are relative. They cannot be correctly defined because everyone has their own perception of them. For instance, is it okay to kill one person to save many? If you ask people questions like this, you are likely not to receive the same answer from everyone. I think that society has a large impact on our ideas of good and bad. Think about it, if we didn’t see violence in the news and on television, wouldn’t that change our perceptions of the world? We become blinded to our own values and instead focus on other peoples problems instead of our own.

Danielle S said...

The aphorism that stuck me the most is when Emerson says, “What I must do is all the concerns me, not what the people think… It is harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better then you know it.” This struck me because in our society today many people live off what people say about them. For example, if someone points out an insecurity of yours, you will most likely be more insecure about it, and try to hide it, no matter what it is. Or, in society now a days, it seems like parents have a big say in what their kids lives will look like in the future. What is wrong with being a Hair stylist? But I have never met a parent who wants their kid growing up to be a hair stylist? I think individuality is so important because if we were all the same our world would be so boring and inefficient. I also think that especially in high school kids worry a lot about what their peers think about them. Sometimes this even holds people back from really being their own person. I know in my own life, some things that people have said to me still effect how I act. Sometimes I wish I could erase the things people have said to me, but it is very hard and nobody should let others opinions effect them. Individuals should accept their own opinion about things and not let others ruin that for them. It is so important to have your own opinion, no matter what it is. I think that people who stand out the most are the people who stick with their opinion and not let others influence it. Also, the people that stand out the most are the people that act completely like themselves and do not let others bring them down. Our society needs this aphorism because I know that others influence our world too much. I always try to ignore others but for some reason, I let others influence me too much sometimes. I need to work my way to Emerson’s aphorism because it is one of the most important things he says.

C to tha OLE Ken said...

I thought that being yourself is key in Emersons Aphorism. You are who you are and your opinion is all that matters. Although others opinions of you can be key in doing things like finding jobs and keeping a good reputation. Still you know yourself better than anyone else and you know whats best for you personally. It goes along with the statement, "What i must do is all that concerns me" because you control your destiny and you have the freedom to shape your life how you want to. Emerson also says he doesnt care what people think. I agree with this statement and think other people shouldnt change your goals or your perspectives because then its fake, and a lie. People will have some influence on your life, but they shouldnt shape it.

meghanns said...

The aphorism that struck me most in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance was, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” This statement is saying that the only thing that matters is the integrity of what you think, not what you get from the rest of society. It also is saying that the most sacred thing that we own is our own opinion. This relates to me because everyday I am trying more and more to be myself and discover who I am. But to do this I must believe in what I am thinking and understand what is going on around me. The only thing I didn’t like about Emerson’s Self Reliance was how he said these things like he knew everything and he was the greatest person in the world. But other than that, I enjoyed this very much because of all the philosophies that can help me figure out how to stand up for my own beliefs.

Meg P said...

Emerson's statement "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string," made an impact on me. This means to follow your own heart and your own beliefs, because everyone has their own values. Your values and beliefs make the most sense to you and others' beliefs make sense to them. No belief is right or wrong. Everyone has their own idea of what right and wrong is. Society and people surrounding you may influence an idea as being right or wrong, but it doesn't matter what they think. So why do we let others influence us? Follow your beliefs. I strongly agree with this statement because I think beliefs and values make people who they are. It is important to be your own person. But, be open to other ideas. Your values and beliefs may change as you grow older and learn more about life, and that is okay. It helps you learn more about yourself and who you are. I agree with all of Emerson's thoughts. I think it is important to develop your soul, along with the mind; but the soul is what determines who you are.

Allie S said...

Emerson says "Men measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is." He goes on to explain that this view is skewed of how it should be. This aphorism was striking to me because of the truth behind it. It is a simple concept in which we may deny its truth, however when you think about it, our entire lives are built around esteem in possession. A man should not be valued this way. Many people can make great impacts on the world without worldly possession. Each person has their own set of talents, gifts and attributes. All of these, and how they put them to use, should be relevant to the measure of a man. I disagreed with Emerson when he said, "Then again, do not tell me as a good man did today, of my obligation to put all men in good situations. Are they my poor?" He claims that one should live in total for self-prosper. I do believe in hard work and self-reliance, however i disagree that we should never lend a hand to another person. Some people falter and may need help getting back on their feet. Such a situation does not hinder the world from growth. It helps move forward through comradery.

Maria A. said...

"... and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another." This statement is very true amongst most people, when people feel shame from someone's opinion. In this society people most of the time don't feed off their own ideas without listening to others' ideas whether is it is a good or bad one. Yes it could be good to listen to what other people have to say, but to actually believe every word that comes out of that persons mouth and feel guilt from it, that can't be healthy. Emersons' thought on this situation was well thought through because most people wouldn't think of this, and it is really true.

Bri R said...

The passage that struck me the most was, "There is a time in every man's (or woman's!) education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide..." Is imitation really suicide? When you mimic another's actions and strive to be like them, are you really killing your own individuality? If this is so, are there really any individuals left? Once you become something you're not because you long to be accepted, you bottle up your real self and when there is no more space left in the bottle, your realness dies. You become fake and empty, like a hollow shell. I agree with that statement, although I believe the first part is not so true but a very nice ideal... I know many grown men and women who still do not understand their ignorance and can't see how it is covered up by the wanting of acceptance. Human's feel a need to be accepted by others, to be surrounded by others. We don't want to end up alone. And because of this fear of eternal abandonment, the murder of the individual continues. Why can't people accept other people for what they are, not what they want them to be?