What is one of the philosophies in Self-Reliance?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another theory is originality, which is tied to non-conformity.  Emerson makes a strong appeal for people to challenge beliefs and to avoid mimicking others.  Instead, he wants humans to live to their potential by creating their own, completely original, ideas.  Emerson believes this in the only way to be true to yourself:

‘‘Insist on yourself...Never imitate.’’

In explaining his ideas on originality, he speaks against education, suggesting that too much education can cause conformity in humans - in other words, teach them to all think alike about topics, rather than develop their own belief structure.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The need and purpose of individualism in society is one of the philosophies that Emerson discusses. Emerson believes that people have been given a uniqueness by God and it should be embraced. There is value and purpose in individual thought, ideas, behaviors, and actions that are meant to be exercised. Emerson believes that to fulfill each person's purpose, they must act on their individuality. Happiness can only be found in doing so, as well. By being an individual, is to accept one's destiny and be in step with God.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of Emerson's philosophies is that of the "Over-soul" which is his belief that everyone is unique and has an essential spark that the individual must find.  Another way of looking at it is to view the idea as the world is one big jigsaw puzzle.  Everyone is a piece of that puzzle, each one different, but each one necessary in order for the picture to be complete.  Also, each person has to work together to complete the picture.

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