Self-Reliance: A Timeless Philosophy for the Modern Age

in GEMS5 months ago

Contemplating about the concept of self-reliance is something that has fascinated and resonated with me for a long time.

At the heart of it is trusting our own intuition and instincts, rather than conforming to the opinions and expectations of society.

Relying on our intuition and instincts gives us the ability to embrace our individuality and creativity. Whereas, relying on society usually has a way of stifling both individuality and creativity for the sake of fitting in.

This interesting interpretation of the self reliance concept was first introduced to me through reading an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was an influential American philosopher in the 19th century.

In his famous essay Self-Reliance, he explains his philosophy in detail.

In an excerpt, he writes:

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgement."

Image Source

Modern Age And Technology

A characteristic of the modern age that we're gradually getting used to is being constantly bombarded with information, opinions and trends that do nothing more than distract us from our true selves.

For instance, many young people nowadays actually worry more about how many likes or followers they have on social media, than how meaningful or authentic their relationships are.

Why not spend more time developing their real personality and character, instead of focusing their time and energy to create a perfect online persona, which deep down they know hardly exists?

Technology is arguably a very influential and pervasive force in the modern age, affecting almost every aspect of our lives.

Like other philosophers of his time, Emerson had a bit of a complex attitude towards technology, in that there are two opposing views.

On the first side, he recognized its ability to enhance human capabilities and promote progress. But on the other side, he warned against its dangers of dehumanizing or enslaving people.

In my opinion, Emerson leans more towards the dangers of technology than the positives. Because he often lays criticism on the excessive reliance on technology, leading to the loss of connection with our natural surroundings.

Expecting or relying on technology to do almost everything for us is a common and growing theme in the modern era. Some are anxiously waiting for that day to come, while others hope this day never happens. Because it could also mean humans becoming almost obsolete.

Image Source

Shifting From Looking Outside To Looking Inside

In light of the things discussed above, giving up individuality for the ease or convenience that technology offers is neither the goal nor the route to take.

For one, it's akin to walking with a crutch when your legs are still working fine. Over time, you get so used to walking with a crutch that you forget how to walk with just your legs and this function becomes atrophied.

Seeing it that way also makes one wonder if the problem is with technology itself or how we've grown to perceive it. At the background of it all, I see the never ending human quest to find a solution that solves all our problems. Or put in a more direct way, achieve a perfect state.

But I think to truly achieve that we might want to look into the opening statement of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay. Which states "Ne te quaesiveris extra," translated to "Do not seek outside yourself, look within."

Thanks for reading!! Share your thoughts below on the comments.


in this social media world, if one can not believe in oneself and always looking for outside acceptance, it will make their life miserable. They will always search for likes and attention which ultimately means nothing at all.

Yes, going that route is akin to entering an abyss with no way out of it. Looking for acceptance and validation from people hardly brings any sense of meaning or fulfillment to one's life. Better to look within and discover who/what we truly are.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Congratulations @takhar! You have completed the following achievement on the Hive blockchain And have been rewarded with New badge(s)

You made more than 5000 comments.
Your next target is to reach 5500 comments.

You can view your badges on your board and compare yourself to others in the Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

To support your work, I also upvoted your post!

Check out our last posts:

Our Hive Power Delegations to the November PUM Winners
Feedback from the December Hive Power Up Day
Hive Power Up Month Challenge - November 2023 Winners List