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Emerson concludes the essay with four main points on self-reliance. Throughout this essay, Emerson encourages the individual to listen to his/her inner voice, to be bold and brave enough to trust that inner genius. This is the source of creativity and nonconformity. Also, by listening to that inner voice, the individual avoids passively absorbing the doctrines of social institutions and the ideologies of others. The inwardly-focused, self-reliant individual uses his own mind as a source of creativity. In Part One of the last pages of the essay, Emerson continues with the emphasis on the individual's inner genius and shows skepticism about prayer because it is outwardly, rather than inwardly, directed:
Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous.
As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg.
Here, Emerson suggests a pantheistic idea, that God is everywhere. Therefore, the individual activating his own genius need not reach "out."
In Part Two, Emerson basically says that you can not run away from your problems. While he doesn't oppose travel outright, he does suggest that man should find adventure in his own soul, again focusing on the individual's mind as a source of inspiration rather than finding it 'somewhere out there.'
In Part Three, Emerson uses an analogy of traveling with imitation. "We imitate; and what is imitation but the traveling of the mind?" Since all original artists did not copy others, why should we imitate? "Insist on yourself; never imitate." We can not copy and be genuine and original. In other words, "Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare."
In Part Four, Emerson criticizes the lack of progress in society. Consider a modern parallel: technology allows us to do incredible things but it also allows us to become dependent and less active. "The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet." The more we rely on machinery (and computers in the modern parallel), the less we rely on ourselves. This, of course, goes against the whole theme of the essay: self-reliance.
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