Saturday, October 1, 2011

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks to Divenita for giving me this wonderful book and to Blogger for giving me the good friends.

Although it is a thin book having just 70 pages, believe me it is not an easy read. I really struggle with the heavy vocabulary and style and it sometimes happened with me that I have read 2,3 pages without comprehending it but patience is the key. There are 2 essays in novel: Self reliance and prudence. 

Self reliance is about the importance of individual and completely different from Ayn Rand philosophy(which stresses equally on rationalism). It says we should always follow and trust our inner instincts. What so ever is achieved in this world by the people like Newton and many others is just the result of their self belief. The reason we are skeptical about instincts is that others have no other data to compute our orbits than our past data and we hate to disappoint them. What if you contradicts yourself? What if you are misunderstood? Why you care so much about society? Newton, Socrates, Phythagoras etc. all are misunderstood. One of the quotation from the novel is “To be great is to be misunderstood.”There is no point in saying what you don’t believe just because you think what other people will say if I contradict. 

After all, “your life is for yourself and not for the spectacle,” another quotation which I like very much. Another thing he stresses on one can’t be happy if he is not living in the present. Also, Peace is something internal and nothing can bring you peace but yourself. 

Prudence is another essay. He says he love the man who does not have perception. He brings the qualities of nature which we fail to acknowledge. It contains some very powerful quotations and you love to read them again and again. Let me share some which I really understood.
  • Every man is actually weak and apparently strong. To himself, he seems weak: to others, formidable. 
  • Time is always bringing the occasions that discloses their value. 
  • They measure each other esteem by what each has rather by what each is. 
  •  Society never advances. It recedes as fast as on one side as it gains on the other.  
  • You will always find the others who think they know your duty better than you know it. 
 Finally, i 'd  say one should miss this book. One other post Book GiveAway is dedicated to her.

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