Hello, all. I thought I would get things started with the discussion on Emerson's "Self-Reliance."
Similar to Nietzsche's work, where the opening fable summarized the point of his essay, Emerson's "Self Reliance" uses a Latin phrase to do the same.
"Ne te quaesiveris extra." OR "Do not look outside of yourself."
Emerson's main argument is that human beings need to rely on themselves (their ideas), follow their initial instincts, and refrain from allowing society's norms and ideals to dictate their thoughts. He urges individuals to allow their ideas to emerge and develop because these ideas have the potential to become the "universal sense." Emerson points out a few of the greatest thinkers--"Moses, Plato, and Milton" as men who were not afraid to trust themselves and voice their opinions. In this sense, their greatest contribution to man may not have been the ideas themselves, but their ability to recognize the grandeur of their own thought and to then share it with the world. He warns that if we do not make our gut instincts known, then on the "Last Judgment" day, the ideas and thoughts we hesitated to share, will be reflected back as our ultimate regret.
Question to Readers:
Is the opening poem the"verses written by an eminent painter" or are the "verses" intended to be ambiguous?
Also, I find it interesting that both Nietzsche and Emerson seem to contradict themselves (no doubt, intentionally) . If the opening poem is in fact the "verses written by an eminent painter", then Emerson , by presenting the unconventional thoughts of another, is providing an example of man's suppression of his own self-expression. Similarily, Nietzche's "On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense" is dense and pedantic, reflecting human beings' construction of metaphors upon metaphors...upon metaphors. Both essays' forms match their functions.