Self Reliance

Once in a while there are books like “Self-reliance”. Its name mentioned several times in the past but I never stop to really dig deeper. With a cloudy head and no prior reading to get a sense of history or author autobiography context, “Self-Reliance” goes to my mind as raindrops flowing upon the leaves of mung bean trees, slowly glide then fall on the ground, drop by drop.

Sitting beside a public building near central port of Catba Island when it is getting dark, I absorb this huge lost in translation. Of the same language written but divided by context and knowledge background, I hold the e-reader device and stare at the words. Occasionally some sentences echo.

I will save them here before the momentum is gone.


“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion, it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude”.

This can be refered to the concept of peace and escapism, or the so-called Buddism that many follow yet a few understand.

A word mentioned repeatedly in the essay is non conformity. It sounds like a nice idea, yet

1. What is the difference between a nonconformist and a rebel?

2. If u don’t conform the outside world, does that mean u should conform the inside world? What is the inside world anyway but influence of interactions with outside world?



“The other terror. That scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we loath to disappoint them”.

“Speak what u think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything u said today”.


“When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish”


Below are some reviews worth mentioning

  1. New York Times Review

“The larger problem with the essay, and its more lasting legacy as a cornerstone of the American identity, has been Emerson’s tacit endorsement of a radically self-centered worldview. It’s a lot like the Ptolemaic model of the planets that preceded Copernicus; the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around our portable reclining chairs, and whatever contradicts our right to harbor misconceptions — whether it be Birtherism, climate-science denial or the conviction that Trader Joe’s sells good food — is the prattle of the unenlightened majority and can be dismissed out of hand”



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