A Discussion of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Beliefs and Thoughts on Individuality, Society, and Government

Ralph Waldo Emerson I am writing this essay on the beliefs and thoughts of Ralph Waldo Emerson on the subjects of individuality, society, government, technology, and spirituality.
I think that Emerson believes that every person should be as much as individual as they can. Be who you are on the inside, don’t try to be like everyone else. Don’t worry about fitting in, if someone is a real friend, they will like you for who you are, real friends won’t dump you for being yourself.

When Emerson says “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” he is saying that you should act like you are on the inside; don’t try to be like someone else. Be your own person and strive to be as different from everyone else as much as you can. Emerson said that your mind is your own, and no one can touch it. You can think what you want to think, and no one can change that. He describes this belief in the quote “Nothing is at last sacred, but the integrity of your own mind.” People can mess with every other part of you, but your mind they can’t reach.

Emerson is quoted as saying “My life is for itself and not for a spectacle.” I think that he means that each and every person has their own life to live and that they shouldn’t devote their time to worrying about what other people are doing. You have enough to worry about with what’s going on in your own lives.


  1. Robert Parent on May 4, 2018 at 2:47 am

    does Emerson believe in a new government?

    • admin on May 4, 2018 at 3:26 am

      I am not one to speculate on what Emerson believed beyond what he wrote, but I do know this. Emerson knew, that if the collective population took heed to his writings, became self-aware, let go of internal insecurity, had compassion for themselves and others, held the ideals of a community over and above their own needs, there would not be a “need” for a new government, as it would evolve naturally based on the collective beliefs of the communities nation-wide. Emerson’s words are more valid today than they were during his time in my opinion.

      • Matt on July 22, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        Hi , it’s a very interesting thought and i could use this idea for an essay i am writing. Would you mind putting some quotes to back this up? Thank you

  2. Suzannah Mee on May 5, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    I leave an appropriate quote by ERNEST HEMMINGWAY …
    “If man is truly free in the isolated moment, then the importance of what he does or does not do is staggering. He has, in effect, elected to change the universe all by himself and create his own universe.”
    My thoughts go out to Julian Assague. May God be with him in his current trial.

  3. Larry Briscoe on April 3, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    I would embrace Emerson’s instruction, “Insist on yourself; never imitate;” and leave it there
    For me, an attempt “to be as different from everyone else as much as you can” would be to put your energy again into someone else’s life rather than your own uniqueness.

  4. Terry Heller on October 9, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    An error you may want to correct on this page — https://emersoncentral.com/texts/poems/the-rhodora/

    inciteful spiritual connection

    I post this here because today the addresses for typos and the webmaster return as invalid.

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