Did Emerson recognize that human beings share certain attributes, but that they also each have a uniqueness?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Ralph Waldo Emerson was a renowned essayist and poet. His essay "Self Reliance" defines Emerson's feelings on the importance of a human being's uniqueness. Therefore, while Emerson recognized the importance of humans sharing "certain attributes, "I suppose no man can violate his nature," he also recognized the importance of the individual and his or her own personal uniqueness.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition.

The preceding three quotes, from his essay "Self Reliance," prove that Emerson embraced the importance of the individual. Not only did he find nonconformity important, he raised up the "integrity" of the mind of the individual. In essence, Emerson is stating that, although men (and women) have a certain nature about them (meaning that they share certain attributes), one cannot live life being the mirror image of other men (and women). Instead, one must hold true to the fact that, even in opposition, mankind must possess integrity of the mind.

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