Consider how Emerson’s ideas are at work today. Can we see examples of his notion of self-reliance? How might he respond to the way American society has evolved since he first wrote the piece?
Follow your own genius. This means, engage with Emerson’s work and ideas in any way you see fit, even if it’s not one of my prompts. Emerson was all about blazing your own trail without fear of what other people think.

Sample Answer

Sample Answer



Emerson’s Legacy: Self-Reliance in Modern Society

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on “Self-Reliance” continues to resonate in modern society, emphasizing the importance of individualism, intuition, and nonconformity. His call to “trust thyself” and follow one’s inner guidance remains relevant in a world that often values conformity over authenticity. Examining how Emerson’s ideas of self-reliance manifest in contemporary culture provides insight into the enduring relevance of his philosophy and sheds light on how he might respond to the evolution of American society.

Thesis Statement:

Emerson’s notion of self-reliance finds expression in various facets of modern society, from entrepreneurship and personal development to social movements advocating for individual autonomy. If Emerson were to witness the current state of American society, he would likely applaud instances of self-reliance while challenging areas where conformity and dependence prevail.

Examples of Self-Reliance Today:

1. Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneurial spirit that pervades contemporary society reflects Emerson’s emphasis on self-reliance and innovation. Start-up founders, freelancers, and independent creators embody Emerson’s belief in trusting one’s instincts and forging one’s path, often defying traditional career norms in pursuit of their dreams.

2. Personal Development: The self-help industry, with its focus on empowerment, resilience, and personal growth, echoes Emerson’s call for individuals to cultivate their unique potential. Concepts such as mindfulness, self-care, and authenticity align with Emerson’s vision of self-reliance as a pathway to fulfillment and self-actualization.

3. Social Movements: Advocacy movements promoting individual rights, autonomy, and social justice reflect Emerson’s belief in the power of individuals to effect change. Movements advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, and environmental sustainability embody the spirit of self-reliance by empowering individuals to challenge systemic injustices and shape a more equitable society.

Emerson’s Response to Modern Society:

If Emerson were to observe the evolution of American society since he penned “Self-Reliance,” he would likely commend instances where individuals embrace their autonomy, pursue their passions, and challenge oppressive structures. However, he might also critique aspects of contemporary culture characterized by conformity, materialism, and social pressures that stifle individual expression and creativity.

Embracing Emerson’s Philosophy:

In a world marked by rapid change, technological advances, and shifting societal norms, Emerson’s philosophy of self-reliance serves as a timeless beacon of guidance. By encouraging individuals to trust their inner wisdom, follow their passions, and resist the pull of conformity, Emerson’s ideas continue to inspire individuals to blaze their trails and cultivate their unique identities in a world that often seeks to homogenize.


Emerson’s concept of self-reliance endures as a powerful ethos that empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of modern society with authenticity, courage, and resilience. By embracing Emerson’s call to “follow your genius” and trust in one’s intuition, individuals can transcend societal expectations, embrace their uniqueness, and contribute meaningfully to a world that values individuality and self-expression. Just as Emerson advocated for self-reliance as a path to personal freedom and fulfillment, his ideas remain a source of inspiration for those seeking to carve out their paths and make a meaningful impact on the world around them.



This question has been answered.

Get Answer