Notes from Class on Emerson’s “Self Reliance”—Tuesday 24 January
Questions from start of class:
Why should you trust yourself?
What is the self that merits trust?
What is the role of society in relation to the individual?
What you experience is important—as is the expression of the experience that is had. Trust yourself
because you are the only one who knows your experience.
“No memes!” —Everything is, in essence, a socially circulatory meme. Everything becomes caricatured
and socially warped as it is passed from person to person as basically a meme.
Don’t be afraid of contradicting your own past. “Another sort of false prayers are our regrets.” (286) —
Trust the process.
“Insist on yourself, never imitate.” (288).
Image of a college senior standing on a dock—there is a boat—you either step off and get on the boat or
you step off, fall in the water and drown.
This scenario is totally fallacious. What really happens in life is you do one thing and
then you do another thing and then another, and so on. But while doing these things, you
must know how to land on your feet—in order to land on your feet, you must trust
Have an effect on the world rather than allow the world to have an effect on you.
Our consciousness and our interaction with the world is the only way that we can know that “the world”
is true—“My perception of the sun is just as true as the sun itself”—There is no shortcut to finding what
is real. In order to find truth, we must engage in some kind of digging until we reach what feels like a
bottom. It makes no difference in what direction t