October 4, 2004


Thank you, Mr. Puff, for enlightening us on the meaning of this heavy text....

The most important meanings I gathered from Self-Reliance, was just that: self-reliance. Emerson makes commentary that a person is transcendent of their mere title. They are a PERSON who later fulfills the roles/the duties granted with a title. It is more important to look wholistically at the human being behind the words. After all, in the end, does one ask, in death, "How could I have been a better teacher/lawyer/doctor/student/insert title here..?" In death people ask how they could have been more human. Self-Reliance made me realize that it is better to focus on the bigger picture, the world around, rather than just my world. Thinking on this wavelength brought the song "Busy Man" to mind. Now, granted, Billy Ray Cyrus is no Emerson, his lyrics have a point: is one a man, first, or a slave to their occupation, then a man, second? What is the more important of the two priorities? Emerson, (along with the singer), thinks it is the former.

Posted by KatieAikins at October 4, 2004 8:03 PM

Emerson writes: "It is only as a man puts off from himself all external support and stands alone that I see him to be strong and to prevail." I am not sure I agree with this. Self-reliance is a good thing, no one wants to be too dependant on anyone. But, human beings are social animals. There is a new "positive" psychology movement which is studying what contributes to happiness in humans. Interdependance, the idea that we help and support each other, get ideas from each other is one of many factors that have been proven to contibute to overall life satisfaction.

Posted by: Linda Fondrk at October 5, 2004 11:29 AM