Emersons self-reliance

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Downloaded 27 times

In Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance, he writes of "the over-soul" and the belief that mankind is united through very similar beliefs through the "over-soul". Our instinctive actions in making moral choices are all part of this over-soul. This over-soul exists universally among men and is the basis of deriving the basic laws of government. The idea of the over-soul is evident in and greatly influences religion and faith. It is inherent in the morals of all men, therefore there is truth to the existence of the over-soul. Emerson writes of the over-soul: …that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart, of which all sincere conversation is the worship, to which all right action is submission; that overpowering reality which confutes our tricks and talents, and constrains every one to pass for what he is, and to speak from his character, and not from his tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand, and become wisdom, and virtue, and power, and beauty(52).

In this quotation Emerson says that the common instinct instilled in man lets him see the truth for himself. This reality found from the shared over-soul, is the purest form of truth. All men have this ability to perceive the truth, and a common knowledge of goodness unites and unifies us all. Man's instinctive actions in making moral choices are all part of the over-soul. Man can perceive that which is ultimately good, only if he looks past the set laws and dogmas of the majority. It is true that all men have certain inherent morals. These morals that uniquely define man, are what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. This human characteristic to distinguish between what is...