“Self-Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson Aphorism- a brief statement that expresses a truth about life. For example, Ideas from his essay: Each person must ultimately rely on herself because nothing good comes of envying or imitating someone else, and a person can only profit from her unique place in the world and have faith that God is working through oneself in a unique way. One’s own impulses must be honored as if they came from God; following your nature is crucial in order to be a self-reliant individual. It is easy to live by your own ideas when alone and to conform when you are with others. A great person refuses to conform even in a crowd. A nonconformist is greeted with sour faces, aversion, and displeasure. “…The world whips you with its displeasure.” “A foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” chastises those who are consistent for its own sake rather than being progressive and permitting change. Inconsistency exposes one to criticism from others. Theme of this essay: find what is true for you as a unique individual. Some traditions and old doctrines prevent people from seeking the truth and following their own impulses. He encourages people to be open-minded and willing to contradict their past attitudes. Integrity of mind is everyone’s first duty. Even in the face of opposition, a freethinker must not conform. By believing in self-reliance in all matters, Emerson would be against slavery. As a nonconformist, he would not be afraid to go against the sanctioned practice of society at that time. Good and evil names that society ascribes to actions; the only true law is to follow one’s own nature.