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Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmostand our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment.Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought.That quotation, which begins with the words Man is his own star, reinforces the view expressed in the Latin quotation.
In other words, the quotation says, rely on yourself.
Emerson follows the Latin quotation with an English quotation from the epilogue of a verse drama by playwrights Franics Beaumont and John Fletcher, contemporaries of Shakespeare.
Among the most notable characteristics of Emersons writing style are these: (1) thorough development of his thesis through examples, repetition, and reinforcement; (2) coinage of memorable statements of principle, or aphorisms; (3) frequent references (allusions) to historical and literary figures, such as Socrates, Galileo, Copernicus, Napoleon, Shakespeare, Franklin, Dante, and Scipio (ancient Roman general who defeated Hannibal), who embody qualities Emerson discusses; (4) frequent use of figurative language to make a point, such as An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man" (metaphor) and They who made England, Italy, or Greece venerable in the imagination did so by sticking fast where they were, like an axis of the earth" (simile).
Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties, lean, and follow the Past and the Distant.... Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, 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.
When you are young, you are bold and independent; you assert yourself.
You listen to the voice within and express yourself without bias and fear. However, if you want to be a man, you must be a nonconformist.He also urges readers to avoid envying or imitating others viewed as models of perfection; instead, he says, readers should take pride in their own individuality and never be afraid to express their own original ideas.In addition, he says, they should refuse to conform to the ways of the popular culture and its shallow ideals; rather they should live up to their own ideals, even if doing so reaps them criticism and denunciation.The sentiment they instil [Emerson's spelling of instill] is of more value than any thought they may contain.To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,that is genius.He used the German word for transcendental to refer to intuitive or innate knowledgewrote those words in Book 1, line 7, of his Satires.The quotation is an apt introductory aphorism for Emerson's essay, for it sums up the central idea of "Self-Reliance" and the transcendental philosophy behind it: that one should rely on his own inner voiceto make important decisions and put his life on a righteous path."Self-Reliance" is an essay that urges readers to trust their own intuition and common sense rather than automatically following popular opinion and conforming to the will of the majority."Self-Reliance" was published in 1841 in a collection entitled Essays.Emerson believed every human being has inborn knowledge that enables him to recognize and understand moral truth without benefit of knowledge obtained through the physical senses.Using this inborn knowledge, a gift of God, an individual can make a moral decision without relying on information gained through everyday living, education, and experimentation.