What are four things Emerson says we all learn in 'Self-Reliance'?

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Emerson says that everyone eventually learns that envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide, one must accept oneself for better or for worse, and one can achieve nothing except through use of one's own abilities.

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Emerson says that during the course of one's education, everyone learns the following four things.

First, envy is ignorance. This means that to envy the talents of another is to ignore and neglect one's own talents.

Second, imitation is suicide. This point builds on the first. One has unique talents and views which no one else can bring to the world. To copy someone else instead of expressing oneself is to waste one's existence.

Third, one must take oneself for better or for worse. This does not mean that self-improvement is impossible or contrary to the spirit of self-reliance. However, attempts to improve oneself can only be based on an honest assessment of who one really is and what one can do to improve oneself. This can be accomplished through influence but not through imitation.

Fourth, one can achieve nothing except through the use of one's own abilities. Emerson expresses this thought in language that is at once more figurative and less aphoristic than that used in his other points, saying "no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till."

These points represent different facets of the central theme of Emerson's essay: the particular genius in every person and the individual's duty, both to humanity and oneself, to express it.

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List the four things that Emerson says everyone learns eventually in "Self-Reliance."

Early in "Self-Reliance," Emerson says all people eventually learn four basic truths: envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide, all must take themselves for who they are, and though the universe of filled with good things, people must work hard to cultivate these good things instead of expecting everything to work of its own accord.

Of the first, Emerson is saying that people need not envy others since each person is unique and possesses his or her own special skills. If one can embrace what makes one special, then there is no need to envy anyone else.

The second idea builds upon the first: if each person is special, then any attempt to be like others would kill what makes each individual unique in the first place. People throw away who they are to be like everyone else and this is, in Emerson's mind, a sort of suicide.

The third idea, that people should take themselves as they are, is saying that people should accept that they have shortcomings. They should know there are certain parts of themselves they cannot change. Emerson is not suggesting that people should never try to improve themselves when it comes to character flaws that can be improved, but when it comes to certain other traits, such as physical beauty or wit or such, people should accept their share or lack of to stave off envy.

The fourth item in Emerson's list stresses the need for people to live actively. In order to live a full life, one must work hard to achieve one's dreams. This is never handed to an individual on a silver platter.

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List the four things that Emerson says everyone learns eventually in "Self-Reliance."

Towards the end of the essay, Emerson summarises his views on self-reliance into four key points.

The first one is prayer. Emerson states that

Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul.

Prayer that asks God for material things is not only wrong, but won't work. Prayer involving regret will only, over time, erode the soul.

Instead Emerson says we should forget the past and be self-helping. "For him all doors are flung wide."

The second point Emerson makes is that

The wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or onto foreign lands he is at home still.

In other words, he is saying that people that travel to find something greater than what they have at home will be sorely disappointed. Most likely, they will move only away from who they are. Or, at best, wake up with the same "sad self, unrelenting, identical that I fled from." When one travels, they should always know who they are and where they came from. As Emerson states: "My giant goes with me wherever I go."

For his third point, Emerson says that even when we don't travel, our minds wander to foreign places. Our homes, for example, are often full of foreign and exotic objects. What we are doing is moving away from ourselves and imitating others.

If the American artist will study with hope and love . . . considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.

For his fourth point, Emerson says society also looks abroad for its inspiration and as such "society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other."

As an example, he compares the white man to the New Zealand aboriginal. The aboriginal, he claims, is far stronger than the white man. While the white man needs a watch to tell the time, an aboriginal only needs the sun.

His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance office increases the number of accidents; and maybe a question whether machinery does not encumber.

To prevail, Emerson, states that humans must put all these material goods and services to one side.

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List the four things that Emerson says everyone learns eventually in "Self-Reliance."

Ralph Waldon Emerson's "Self Reliance" is a pivotal essay, not only in terms of Emerson's output, but in regards to the transcendentalist movement and the foundations of American individualism. In this essay, Emerson argues that there are four things everybody learns eventually. These things are:

1. Envy is ignorance. By this, Emerson means that only those who do not properly understand the world are envious of other people. With understanding comes the realization that there is no need to be envious of what other people have or can do because each of us is an individual with our own skills and gifts.

2. Imitation is suicide. This is key—Emerson is saying that by imitating someone else, we are effectively destroying ourselves. Every moment that we spend pretending to be someone or something other than ourselves is a moment spent killing our own gifts and uniqueness.

3. Each person must "take himself for better, for worse." By this, Emerson means that everyone must realize eventually that he or she is as he or she is—there is nothing to be done about how we inherently are. Things such as intelligence level, attractiveness, and so on cannot be changed.

4. Even though the world is full of good things, no "nourishing corn"—no thing of value—can come to anyone except as a result of his own efforts ("toil") on the portion of the world that has been afforded to him by birthright.

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