Conclusions Of America's Mythic Archetypes In Ralph Waldo Emerson

1998 Words 8 Pages
Drawing Circles and Conclusions Philosophy is a major part of human development and exploration and has always been fascinating to me personally. I find myself philosophizing many aspects in my life, and I always enjoy reading philosophy. One of America’s most prominent philosophers is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson has been a very influential philosopher; two important figures he influenced were Martin Luther and George Fox (Buell 60). He is known for his collections of essays that detail his philosophical thoughts. One of his most well-known works is “Self-Reliance,” in which Emerson discusses the importance of being an individual, not conforming to others opinions, and trusting one’s instincts (64). Emerson wrote many other essays as well, …show more content…
In the book Mythic Archetypes in Ralph Waldo Emerson, by Richard R. O 'Keefe, he analyses Emerson’s battle with this question. O’Keefe points out how the first sentence, “The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end” (Emerson 843), implies that the viewer is not confined by the horizon and it does not have power over a person. However, he also notes that the second sentence contradicts the first and creates an epistemological dilemma. The second sentence implies that the horizon or nature in general does hold power over people. Emerson continuously battles with this and the question of whether or not the circles can be understood and controlled by humans, or if they are enigmatic (O’Keefe 76). After reading “Circles” and O’Keefe’s analysis, I think that people are within the circles, but they can break free of them. It comes back to what Emerson talked about in his essay Self-Reliance. He stressed the importance of being an individual and not conforming to other people’s opinions (Buell 64). I think this can be applied to “Circles” as well. Society can be a restrictive circle around people and influence their actions and decisions. The goal is for a person to break this circle and create a new one of his own within himself. This circle bends and molds into what the owner wants it to be, where the other type of circle that surrounds the individual shapes him or her into what it

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