Is involvement or interaction with one’s society necessary for the growing of the person? This is a hard on-going societal issue. one addressed by both Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Self-Reliance” and Ruth Benedict in “The Individual and the Pattern of Culture” They both think that the society and the person are inseparable. but they have two aggressively different attacks. Compared to Emerson. Benedict emphasizes persons and their interaction with their local civilization. while Emerson stresses nonconformity. The societal authorization is the creative activity of the person. fabricated through corporate and shared values in order to protect one’s rights to life. autonomy. and belongings. The map of the societal authorization is to keep the aforesaid value. which is how it influences future persons via Torahs and civilizations that repress that differing values from the norm. Benedict combines cultural influences towards the person and considered civilization differences. Besides. she brought in single psychological science and societal building.

On the other manus. Emerson raised an of import thought: autonomy. He believing every one of us is a mastermind and that we merely need to swear ourselves. The points in Emerson’s and Benedict’s essays seems to contrast against each other. but in fact they have a strong connexion and Benedict’s essay can really assist us understand Emerson’s point. Benedict combines the societal state of affairs so that she can makes Emerson’s point clearer because she said we do non hold to conform to society. but if we are unhappy. we can stand out. as Emerson advises. But even Emerson’s rejection of society reveals that he has been influenced by it. since it has ever stressed individualism. Both writers have differing positions about the function of the individual’s interaction with society. As Emerson mentioned in his essay: “To believe your ain idea. to believe that what is true for you in your private bosom. is true for all men—that is genius” ( 259-260 ) . He thinks we need to talk and believe for ourselves instead than allow other people decide our ideas and actions. He besides says that society influences the person. so sometimes persons will intentionally restrict themselves in order to suit in the society.

He argues conformance to the society is non good. Besides. he uses his celebrated gimmick phrase “Trust thyself” throughout the essay to emphasis his point. Although Emerson has a truly good idea on autonomy and being a Nonconformist. Benedict raises some reasonably good points that are deserving believing approximately. As mentioned before. Benedict has a different attack on civilizations and persons. She says that there is no “proper hostility between the function of society and that of the individual” ( 305 ) . And I strongly agree with her. Society is the creative activity of the person. so it will non to the full separate from the individual’s life. Human existences are societal animate beings. so we need to populate in the group. and we need to pass on with others. Therefore. we form a society based on common civilization. value. and spiritual where we can populate in. Benedict besides mentioned in her essay that it is non possible to discourse forms of civilization without specifically sing their relation to single psychological science ( P306 ) . I studied both Western and Eastern civilization in my psychological science category. and it is truly absorbing how civilization can act upon persons. It is true that most people are shaped to the signifier of their civilization.

For case. there are tonss of differences between Western civilization and Eastern civilization. Eastern people are largely collectivized. which implies that they are ever believing for the whole group in order to keep the harmonious relationship. On the other manus. Western people are largely individualistic. which means they chiefly focus on single ends and desires. and they are more likely to value independency and autonomy. Benedict’s thought of “the behaviour dictated by that society” ( P307 ) really indicates that Emerson’s essay about autonomy somehow has something to make with his civilization. Therefore. in some manner. Emerson was influenced by his civilization and he is what Benedict would state. “culturally encouraged” to talk up. stand out. and push society towards a good way ( Jacobus. 304 ) . Benedict provinces. “His civilization provides the natural stuff of which the person makes his life ( 305 ) . ” indicating out that civilization and the person are most likely in a co-existent relationship. so the single creates the society. and society provides the instruction. establishments. and the Torahs to protect our rights. Therefore. life in a societal group does non intend that we are compromising since one depends on the other. The thought established by Benedict is that nonconformity is non necessary if we can do our manner in the society.

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However. Emerson takes an individualistic position: if we were unhappy while conforming and we were enduring as a consequence. we have to as Emerson would state: “trust your emotion. ” ( 265 ) to better your life. When confronted with the norms of society. the person has two options: accept it or reject it. Both are non reciprocally sole: the first can take to both felicity and sadness. same for the 2nd 1. But different civilizations determine the different results. Benedict references many different civilizations to back up her statement that each civilization has its ain values ; as a consequence. “The individuals who are put outside the picket of society with disdain are non those who would be placed at that place by another culture” ( 310 ) . In other words. those people who are “Exceptions” to their civilization likely can suit in another society absolutely. As an individualist. Emerson is an effectual illustration of Benedict’s thought because. while he can non derive blessing if he lives in. for case. an Asiatic civilization. he can hold a immense influence on Western civilization.

It is non merely yourself. besides the people you are speaking to can make up one’s mind whether you are incorrect or right. That is besides a portion of the civilization. the manner people see you and they manner you see yourself. There is no right or incorrect on one’s value. they all get to take what they believe in. Emerson promote us to be a Nonconformist is we are unhappy. but possibly some people can merely experience happy by holding other people’s blessing. America has an Individualism civilization and Japan has a Bolshevism civilization. but they both are affluent. Some people are happy if they can get by with other people. they feel comfy around people ; conformance can do them stronger as a group. Some people are merely making better as an person. they can talk out. stand up for themselves. and they enjoy being unique. However. both of those types of people feel happy with their lives because that is their pick. Furthermore. either Japan as a Bolshevism community or America as an individuality civilization. both states have people who live at that place happy and satisfied. So back to Emerson’s point. others can non do determinations for one ; merely you can do determination for yourself. And in someway. it depends on the civilization. the society have an influenced to us that we can non merely force it off.


Emerson. Ralph Waldo. “Self-Reliance. ” A World of Ideas: Essential
Readings for College Writers. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. 8th erectile dysfunction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2002. 255-69. Print. Jacobus. Lee A. “Benedict. Ruth. The Individual and the Pattern of Culture. ” A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 8th erectile dysfunction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2002.
301-23. Print.


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