Monday, December 3, 2012

Emerson and Self Reliance

Please respond, individually, to the following prompts. These are extra points so you must be reflective and thoughtful. I expect at least a solid papragraph. When you are finished, please ask a question(s). As you are writing, make sure to use specifics from the text to back up your responses and to keep questioning, challenging other people's thinking. I would like your relfection to talk not only about the text, but its application to contemporary society.

Please write your favorite quote (or aphorism) from the essay "Self Reliance" and analyze its significance. (What intrigues you about Emerson's perspective of living? How do you embrace or challenge this notion? ) You can write more than one if you wish.

Also, if you accept the challenge, I would like you to discuss what you agree with and resist when it comes to Daniel Suelo's way of living (see article-"Moab Man...")? How might his life teach us about how we live today and what we focus on and consume ourselves with?


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  2. Reading "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson makes you think about what is important about yourself. A quote that stuck with me stated, "insist on yourself: never imitate." You can only be yourself, everyone else is taken, plus why do you even want to be anyone else? There is a reason you are who you are and we need to accept that and fulfill our lives instead of pretending to be living in someone else's. You do things that only you can do, never mistake that for someone else. Emerson's perspective of living to me represents never letting things get to you and only let them make you stronger. "He does not postpone his life but lives already" simply just live your life you were given and enjoy every second of it because you only have one.

    Daniel Suelo's way of living teaches us about how lucky and spoiled we are today. Imagine not having everything we have, image us living they way Daniel Suelo does, do you think you can live like him? We grow up in a world of advancement everyday and he lives in a world of not knowing what advancement is. "I have no idea what the future holds, and I don't worry about it." Some people worry about what they are going to wear tomorrow and Daniel doesn't even worry if he's going to live tomorrow showing that we need to open up our eyes and realize what we have is something to be thankful for everyday and never forget that.

  3. While reading "Self Reliance," I got the feeling that Emerson was trying to relay the idea that being yourself is more important than trying to uphold societies standards. The quotes: "Insist on yourself; never imitate," and "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think." These quotes say to me that Emerson wants us to be our own people, to not try to be something/someone that we are not.

    When reading about Daniel Suelo, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he was saying. The whole idea that money corrupts I got, but the one that really hit home with me was how much we as Americans and wealthy nations in general waste. He says, "If they want to be mad about something, how about how much food they throw away. I know that there is enough food to feed a village in one dumpster behind Wal-Mart or Sam's." This really reminded me of this summer when I went on a mission trip to San Diego and we were able to feed to poor from the scraps that the major markets in the area allowed us to take. It was amazing how much we deem unworthy and just throw away, and I personally think that we should stop throwing all this stuff away and just take what we are fortunate enough to have and be happy with it, just like Daniel has decided to do with his life.

  4. While reading "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson it got me thinking about what is important about yourself and to be happy, a quote that stuck in my head was "A man is relived and gay when he has to put his heart into his work and done best;but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace." To me this means if you love what your doing its gonna make you happy but otherwise if you hate it its gonna seem really miserable.
    While reading about Daniel Suelo, I agreed with most of what he had to say because it made me think twice about whats a actual necessity and whats just a want.

  5. While I read “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the first thing that struck me was how he talks about how it is important to believe in your own thought and, to trust yourself. One of his quotes, which I believe is true, “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is give to him to till.” This quote means that even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom; overflowed with schoolwork or any other situation, there is still “ground to till.”

  6. While reading "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the most important thing that stuck with me was how too always be yourself. I believe without this quote "Insist on yourself; never imitate" that our society wouldn't be complete. Without people being different in our society people would get very sick of each other and just would cause several problems. People in our society don’t accept themselves for who they really are. Plus they try to act bigger and better than everyone to make themselves look better. Why would someone want to act fake? Deep down people know that when they don’t act themselves that it creates a false identification for other people. People in our society need to know the truth about other people so that they know all the basics about them. With each and every individual in our society that is what makes us all unique in our own ways.

    Daniel Suelo’s way of life makes me feel very lucky for the things I have. Plus made me think how spoiled I really am. Daniel made me realize that I don’t need half the things that I own to succeed in life. The only necessities that I need is food, water, and shelter to live. By reading his story it has taught me that you don’t need advancement in order to live a successful life. I totally agree because without advancement in our lives I think everything would be much easier. For example with the advancement of technology the bullying rates would decrease because there wouldn’t be facebook and other things that cause bullying. I also believe that money really doesn't mean anything in today’s society. It means that if you have money than you are good and really that’s not how it should be. Everyone in our society should just be thankful that they have each other not money. Daniel Suelo’s story was very inspiring to me.

    Why is our society highly over rated?

  7. One aphorism from Emerson's Self Reliance that really caught my eye and had me thinking was, "A man should learn and detect and watch the gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts;" This quote says to me how Emerson believes that everyone shouold learn to listen to themselves rather than having to listen to/ get inspired from others. How we are our own worst critic, we analyze our thoughts before we say it in fear of sounding stupid, and some ideas that we think are good we never share them out loud due to the fear of sounding stupid in our peer's eyes. Self- consciousness is a big key in this aphorism. We under appreciate ourselves, we should learn to trust what our mind creates and inspire ourselves rather than listening to someone else's mind. We depend on someone to tell us what we're already thinking/ helping us as individuals to form our own thoughts. Once we have that idea in our head that we're afraid to share and somebody else expresses their thoughts and it's the same as yours, you feel a little sad and ashamed to not have said it when you had the change. You robbed yourself of that independence and are now just a follower. But who are we following exactly? who started the concept of being self-conscious?
    Reading Daniel Suelo's story had me very conflicted. I agree with Suelo when he says, "Eventually, he concluded his growing despair was tied to fretting over his financial ability to maintain his stuff. Stuff, he realized, he didn't need. So, he gave it all away. "We use all our energy to maintain our possessions, and it becomes an ungly cycle," he says."" I agree with this quote mainly because its so true whether we realize it or not. We worry over bills constantly and that worry gives us stress which just overloads us when we have to many bills. What are those bills for anyway? Oh ya, there for our internet, cable for our TV, etc. We don't need those materialistic things to live it's just a luxury that we can afford. But it's not easy, which causes us stress but all that stress would go away if we just gave those possession away. The "ugly cycle" Suelo was referring to will only grow bigger, more technology will be invented and the media will make it seem like everybody needs it to be happy, which isn't true. The more technology we want and buy the more stress we get and it's a vicious cycle. I don't have any arguments on Suelo's story, I appreciate Suelo. I feel like Suelo's mentality is very fresh and very honest, reminds me of a monk.

  8. My favorite quote from Emerson's "Self-Reliance" is "it is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." This is very relatable to our society today, being that society is the harshest critic in our lives. Especially as teenagers, we mostly live to fit others expectations which is very unfortunate. But I love how Emerson is telling us that even in the chaos of our lives, we still are able to think by ourselves and not be in the midst of it all. This quote brought me peace and a sense of calmness.

    From Daniel Suelo's article, I found it so cool that he was able to live 9 years (and still going) without an income. He teaches us many things about life. We don't need any of the materialistic things. It does not matter how big your house is, what clothes you wear, and especially not how much money you obtain. In the article, he says "The point is to live freely, in the present. freely giving and freely taking,, which is the way of nature." This is so peaceful. The only thing I do not agree with is the fact that he has no one with him. Living without love and without my family is one of my biggest fears. All in all, I absolutely adored this article and the things that this man believes in.

  9. The quote that stuck with me most from Emerson's "Self-Reliance" was " Insist on yourself; never imitate". This quote is important in today's world as the media was a huge hold on people's believes of what they should look like and how they should be. People often see images of the "ideal" body want to be an "Imitation" of these people. People continue to wish to morph themselves into the molds the social media provides for us. But by imitating these standards people lose themselves. They no longer are "insisting" upon themselves as people but instead give away what makes them unique causing them to lose themselves in their desires for their imitation. This quote is so important to keep people grounded in todays age and to remind them that they are made the way they are meant to be and to look. They must set aside these standards constantly being thrown at them by the media and remember to only rely upon themselves.

    When reading the Daniel Suelo article I found it so interesting that someone could have the courage to leave the materialized world and risk everything to live a simple life. It's amazing that he found a cave and actually has the ability to live with no money. I really enjoy his quote "We use all our energy to maintain our possessions, and it becomes an ugly cycle" because it is so truthful to our world. We spend all our time trying to succeed further in our future and put ourselves in a higher social class, and what does that accomplish? It causes us to miss out on all the small important events and we literally work our lives away. This article was so interesting and inspiring to not mold to the conformities in the world.

    Do you think it is possible to exempt yourself from being affected by the media?

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  11. After reading Emerson's "Self-Reliance" it made me think a lot about what it means to be ourselves and what it means to be you. One quote that stuck to me the most was, "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think." This spoke to me because it basically means live your life for yourself. You will never please everyone else in the world so be who you want to be. I know especially in high school everyone is worried about what others think of them but sometimes we need to take a step back and just be who we really are. That is what makes us unique and we should be proud to show ourselves. It is hard because we all want to fit in but I find if you be yourself you will be a lot happier in life. Don't imitate others or wish you were somebody else. Show who YOU are and fulfill what YOU want to in life. Don't let a friend or parent convince you of anything. Follow your own instincts because it is your own life.

    After reading Daniel Suelo's article, it really made me think of what is really important in life. I think it is amazing how he lives off the land and the excess trash of society. I respect the fact that he left all of his material possessions to follow the way of God and live in nature. He "is truly the happiest man person" and that makes me think about how lost our society is in our money, possessions, and our selves. I am not suggesting that we all give up all of our possessions but if we all tried to not rely on them so much and not be so self-centered than I think we would be surprised how much of a happier and better life we live. God teaches to give and to not be so involved in our selves and even though that is hard, Suelo is a living example of it and he has no regrets. Does fear have anything to do with what Suelo did? He seems frigtened to go back just in fear of having a bad credit score and debt again. Does fear drive us?

  12. "A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace." this is my favorite aphorism because it says so much by saying so little. The basic message is saying if you put everything into your work, your time and effort will be well spent, but everything outside that hard work will not satisfy you because you haven’t been focusing on anything else other than your achievements. One step at a time is the way to approach things in life cause if you try to balance everything all at once, everything will slowly come undone. So it’s best to work on one thing at a time to be most content.

    I personally disagree with Suelo’s way of living because that’s not the way of life. Over time everything starts to advance whether its technology or education. The human race is sought out to be the best of the best, and we always want more. Life will always be like that for humans because that’s the way the mind works. Plus Suelo is living off our waste, which would make it impossible for everyone in the world to be living the way his living because all the waste will be consumed too fast. Although his way of living does make a valid point about how we should appreciate nature more often, and how we should live a simple life to find our true selves. “The point is to live freely, in the present, freely giving and freely taking, which is the way of nature.” The people of modern age rely too much on their possessions and need to understand why that’s not the right way to live. Live a simple life and everything will work itself out.

    What makes our lives worth living? Is it becoming the best that we can be? Or is it to live a simple care-free life to find our true selves? Why or why not?

  13. After reading Emerson's "Self-Reliance", I noticed one particular quote that really interested me. "Insist on yourself; never imitate." This quote has great significance towards our society today and the way we live our lives, individually and also and a whole. Emerson's quote is a reflection of the way he lives his life. "Insist on yourself", Emerson believes that we should embrace our own, individual, uniqueness because that is what makes our world diverse and unique itself. Without people being different everyone would be exactly the same which would take away from our freedom. Our society is too busy focusing on buying all of the newest technology and clothes instead of who they really are. The media teaches that we need to look a certain way in order to be accepted. Emerson says to “never imitate” because you lose sight of who you really are and after time you won’t even recognize yourself anymore. This quote intrigues me most of all because it makes me take a step back and think about when I imitate in order to be “perfect” and what is really important in life.

    I thought that Daniel Suelo’s way of living was very interesting and I agreed with many of his choices. I appreciated the fact that he was willing to give up everything he had in order to just be an individual human being. I agree that the world would be a much better place if we could all put aside our materials and just live, but I also think that with the way our society is, many people would not be able to do that. We have grown so attached to our technology and other possessions that most people would not be able to go even one day without using those items. Daniel Suelo’s life teaches us that we are too focused on material items and “the next best thing” instead of living a simpler life, like we should be.

  14. What do we find true happiness in? Have we grown too accustom to having technology in our lives every day that we wouldn’t be able to set all of it aside for a single day?

    1. I believe that we find true happiness by spending time with our family and friends. We have grown up to think that getting material things makes us happy and gives us true happiness. This is not true. We have been lying to ourselves. It would be very hard for me to put down my phone for a day because I contact everyone that way.

  15. While reading "Self-Reliance", by Ralph Waldo Emerson a couple quotes stood out to me, "Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession." This quote is basically saying that if you try to imitate someone else you will only be half of who you really are. I got out of it that he wants people in general to be creative and be themselves, towards what ever they do.

    Daniel Suelo has a very unique way of living, he does not have a job, and refuses to use any kind of currency. Every week he goes through the trash of a small town and finds food and cloths, anything me might need and more. when I read this i was shocked at how much people throw away, it just goes to show how wasteful we, Americans are, and what can actually be done with the things we throw away everyday, every week, and every year. He says, "It's instinctual to live without money; it's the way we were born," but he is not living without money, he is just living off of others money.

    Do you think you could survive a week living in a cave, like Suelo, with no material items?

  16. If you imitate somebody else you are not being yourself. If you do not act like yourself your personality will change in a way that is not you, and if you do that then you kill yourself and your personality. “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide;” (Emerson, 1). The main focus of this quote that I like to think about is, “that imitations is suicide;”. This is because if you imitate somebody you are not acting like your true self, so you end up killing your true personality and your true self. You are killing that part of yourself. You need to act like yourself because that is the most important part about you. Emerson knows how important it is for you to stay true to yourself and just be who you are. Most people forget about that in life.
    Our world today mostly revolves around our possessions and what we own. Most people only worry about the next object they can have; the new big iphone, a new computer, or a new TV. “It would be like going back to slavery. There’s just too much of a price to pay.” Daniel says this and it makes me think. What do we really live for in our lives? Is it for objects or the people around me? Most teenagers at Arapahoe high school have an ipod, iphone, ipad, phone, computer, and TV. Most people are focused around the material objects in this world instead of focusing on what really matters in life, your family and friends around you. Without them there is no you. We need to start focusing on what really matters.

  17. What is the thing that you value the most in your life?

  18. While reading "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson I noticed a quote that got me thinking. He says "imitation is suicide," which made me think about how common imitation is in our society. I realized that in our society we constantly copy or imitate one another. We imitate people before us because of the greatness they have achieved, we imitate one another through the clothing we wear, the things that we do, the things we say, and even in some cases the way in which we act. Having now noticing how prevalent imitation is in society I thought of how it is suicide. We give up the right to be ourselves when we imitate another. We give up our individuality, and just who we are as a person when we imitate another because now we try to be so much like that one person or in some cases multiple people that we lose sight of our true self and even loose ourselves along the way. But I also thought of how many people create who they truly are off of the many imitations of other people that they have put together to create their character. You can't be who you are without imitating some aspects of the people you look up to or are surrounded by.

    After reading "Moab Man" I found it truly interesting that one man was willing to give up every prized possession that he had, including any type of money, so that he could live what he considered to be "a natural life." Having said that, while reading the article, I could not help but notice that his "simple life" seemed to consist of a lot of mooching off of the society in which he left behind. In the discussion that we had in class, a few people mentioned that it would be great if everyone would do this, but if everyone did this, where would the materials that he finds in trash cans come from? Where would every-ones' come from? Although it is a great idea, I feel as though there should have been more planning and thought put into this before he just jumped right into being homeless.

    Can you become your own person without imitating some aspects of certain people and splicing them together? Is it possible for everyone to live the "simple life" that Suelo lives? Would people be willing to give up some everyday luxuries, even if only for a while, in order to come closer to themselves?

  19. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson was a really good article with many great points that were brought up! The quote that stood out to me the most was " Insist on yourself: Never imitate." It kind of just reminded me that you were put on this Earth for a reason. God had made plans for you and it's your job to determine them. Nobody said it would be easy but it's a goal for you and not very many other people could do it. You were made to be who you are and not someone else so there's no need to compare yourself to them. I also got out of this quote that you’re the person that's the hardest on yourself and sometimes it's needed and other times it’s not. It just rehashes my believes that yea life is hard but your never given something you can't handle!

    Moab Man Embraces Simple Life Living In Cave article was mind blowing. For Daniel Suelo to live in a cave off barely anything is crazy to think about. It just showed me how spoiled I am to have the things I have and I need to appreciate them more than I do. I don't need a lot of things in life except for food water and love from my family, also a place to call out own would be nice. But all the material possessions we use day to day aren't necessary. We all know that dropping the lives we have to live in a cave wouldn't happen but we need to realize how lucky we are to live the way we do.

    Question: As teenagers could we not use our phones for two days out of the week? Or would we cave in and say life is to hard to plan things with friends and communicate with others

  20. While reading the essay "self reliance" one specific quote that stood out to me was "Insist on yourself; never imitate." The reason that this quote stood out to me so much was because in today's world people try to copy others way too much. People should no be so worried about how they should look or act based on how other people look and act, you should be yourself and you should insist on being your own individual. When people try to imitate others it makes them look almost weak because they are not standing up for themselves. it make me think that they are not confident in what they believe in and are just trying to fit in with a certain group.

    Why do you think that people try to imitate others rather that being themselves?

  21. "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion..." This quote was my favorite aphorism from Emerson's Self Reliance. His thinking and conviction was vividly portrayed, so much so that I consistently ponder this throughout the day. Basically, his thoughts are that you have to embrace every flaw, or quality or else you will kill who your true self. I like to think that I represent myself everyday, whether it is the words I say or the actions that I do. I say what is on my mind, and it is I who should judge myself rather than fearing what others may think. Do you find it easier to be yourself, or pretend to be someone else? Is that someone else a model after someone else, or a self image of how you would like to be?

  22. In the article Moab Man, Daniel Suelo chose to live his life simply. Although he chose to live simply, it would not be the easiest lifestyle to choose. In today's society, everyone is "plugged in", or in some way constantly connected to technology. It is a common aspect of the modern lifestyle. There was an report on the news today about children who were receiving tablets for Christmas. When I was young, I would receive a teddy bear, or a barbie. Now, it is no surprise that fourth graders have cell phones and iPods. If I were to try to live simply, I don't think I could do it. I believe that you have to have some form of interaction in order to grow as a person. You have to have connections with humans in order to fully experience life. You can reference mistakes when put in similar situations, and you can have an enjoyable time playing video games with friends. Although in some instances technology can put a barrier between people and face-to-face connections, I think that it can be a benefit to have something fun, and interactive to do.
    Do you think that all technology is bad? In order to live a life simply, do you have to rid yourself of all technological distractions, or are there other aspects in your life that distract you from what's important?

  23. In the article "Self Reliance" written by Ralph Emerson describes in a nutshell how to live a fulfilling life. My favorite aphorism that Emerson talks about is "To be great is to be misunderstood." What I think this quote means is to not be afraid of what others think because there could be an amazing and great idea you have that others may not accept or understand. For instance, Martin Luther King had the idea and dream that people of every race and color of skin should be treated equal. Many people during this time did not understand this idea, nor did they support it. But later we have realized this idea was made of pure greatness. It took awhile to understand and act upon, but if it wasn't for Martin Luther King, civil prejudice could still rule over our society today. Although we are not a perfect society by any means, we have come a long way as far as racial prejudice since the days of Martin Luther King .
    In my own life this quote is very significant. It shows that although I may fail at something or my ideas may be rejected, I still can achieve greatness. It may not be instant, and it could potentially take a very long time. This being said, I don't believe that I should ever stop trying to improve and that I should never allow myself to stop spreading my ideas. Even if no one believes in me I will still fight, because through misunderstanding greatness is found.