While most early thinkers felt that the group held a priority over the individual with the need for the dissenters to accept society's greater wisdom, such Transcendentalists as Thoreau and Emerson held another position. Their position was in the value and greater worth of the individual. Emerson wrote:
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.
Thus, valuing the development of the individual, Emerson suggested that "Isolation must precede true society." That is, "we must go alone." As Thoreau went into the woods deliberately to learn what it had to teach, so, too, does Emerson in his Self-Reliance recommend that the individual develop spiritual intuition afforded by nature and solitude in it. The creator is not the conformist, but the man who can think things through himself. To Emerson, individualism is the greatest virtue of man. For Emerson, a greater self-reliance--a new respect for the "divinity of man"--must effect a revolution of sorts against the "hobgoblins" of conformity.