Henry David Thoreau is an articulate writer aspiring to grow and a faithful pupil of his writings. He supported individualism and thrived in transcendence as he found solace in nature as he separated himself from the distractions of everyday life. As a science philosopher and a historian, Thoreau criticized more than a few things and paid close attention to some matters that would be regarded as trivial. In his writing about self-reliance, he considers a broad scope of self-dependence on economic, spiritual and social matters. Thoreau criticized institutions, records or society that encouraged individuals’ conformity to them. As such, he thrived in solitude as a concept of self-reliance but additionally appreciated opportunities when he has to spend time with his poets and writer friends. In this concept, he encourages his writers to strive not to make anything or anyone else apart from themselves a master of their lives. And in such a life, there is joy, contentment and enhanced quality of life with pursuit and experience of self-reliance.

Thoreau appreciates that self-reliance has greater value that neediness in financial and social terms. In interpersonal relationships, one has great delight in being alone and separated from other human beings. Thoreau in his writing, Sounds notes,

I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life, over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement, to society and the theater, that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel. (3)

In the application of that self-reliance, Thoreau dwelt in the contentment of his solitude and was highly amused in the march of ants and laugh of the loon as opposed to getting entertainment from marketplaces, salons or balls. Amazingly, he does not disregard the value of human companionship, but he is against unnecessary dependent of it. He disdains the unnecessary need of human society such that whether people are there or not, life remains normal, great and enjoyable. Such independence is crucial since it allows a person to enjoy their company and live a quality life even when others are not there. Further, it teaches a person to know contentment and appreciate companionship when it comes and not be hurt when it is absent. As such, one cannot be pleaser or a burden to other people placing their joy and happiness in the control of humanity. Anderson and Cortese (1) suggest that self-reliance allows a person to get more in-depth in self to be able to interact with nature and art to bring great benefits to the society. Great thinkers and philosophers are also born in seclusion and solitude away from the social clamor and noise. Thus, when a person fails in being self-reliant socially, they deny themselves an opportunity of inner-being touching the world and the society in incredible ways. In fact, according to Thoreau, it is impossible to find self while clinging to the world and society. Thoreau in The Village writes

Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations. (2)

Similarly, self-reliance incorporates the economic aspect of a person such that one labor with his hands to be able to provide for his financial needs. Thoreau notes, that being able to pay one’s bills is not enough but should also include making a profit. In producing more than one can consume, is self-reliance as it shows that one is a giver to the game of life than a taker of it. Interestingly, in the application of this concept, Thoreau, took note of all the money he had spent purchasing salt from 1945 to 1947. To him, it is not trivial but good stewardship and making sure everything counted and was used accordingly to ensure one does not burden others. Additionally, self-reliance incorporates the proper use of the available resources for posterity and reduces misuse of money. A situation where every person strives to be self-reliant economically would mean a better society where materialism is neither praised nor envied. Serido and Deenanath (291), notes that parents adhering to the principle of self-reliance will teach their children to abide by such principles. That will mean people can sail through the financial difficulty by being able to prioritize needs over wants and one living with their own means even in pursuit of individualistic lives.

Another critical component of self-reliance is spiritual independence which forms a higher dimension of individualism. In this argument, the transcendent idea takes center stage explaining that self is the essence of reality. This goes beyond the economic aspect to incorporate how the self determines the existence of the natural world. Since everything external emanates from the inner being, cultivating spiritual self-reliance will enhance the quality of our perceptions about nature. With enhanced self-sufficiency, one can appreciate the beauty of the sky, engage in a lengthy meditation and thoughtful process and produce a masterpiece. Being able to be socially and economically self-reliant, is thus dependent on the spiritual dimension of self-dependence. For instance, because Thoreau had enjoyed solitude with self, he would become an excellent accountant, a poet and still feel as one with the winter sky nights.

In summary, self-reliance incorporates three main dimensions of the economic, social and spiritual aspect. The spiritual is the most crucial as it allows one to experience the others. With self-reliance, one can relate to nature more deeply, get to know oneself better and develop masterpieces like poems and meditations in the tranquility of solitude. Amazingly, it enhances the quality of life of a person.

Works Cited

Anderson, Caroline, and Mr. Cortese. “One of the key tenets of the romantic period is the significance placed on the self and self-reliance. Gone with the days of stifling the individual in favor of improving mankind at the.” (2015).

Serido, Joyce, and Veronica Deenanath. “Financial Parenting: Promoting Financial Self-Reliance of Young Consumers.” Handbook of consumer finance research. Springer International Publishing, 2016. 291-300.

Thoreau, Henry David. “Sounds.” Walden: An Annotated Edition, edited by Walter Harding 108 (1854): 125.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Yale University Press, 2006.

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