Ralph Waldo Emerson
Summarize the main point of this paragraph in one sentence.
Emerson believes that individualism and believing in your self and your work is more important than blind the accepting other people's opinion of you.
How is imitation “suicide”?
Imitation is suicide because you are saying that your own work is meaningless and that you value other people's opinions more than you value your own. When you imitate someone you're giving up your individuality which makes you an individual and it means that you are almost telling yourself with your own lack of belief in your abilities and what you have to offer.
Why do we lose trust in ourselves when “we enter into the world”?
Emerson believes children are perfect because they are not as worried about other people's opinions of what they have to offer. And as adults when you enter the world they are too concerned with reputation and approval of others so adults have a harder time acting genuinely.
Do you agree with Emerson that people should go “upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways”?
I do not agree that people should speak the rude truth whenever they feel like it. Some times when you follow general public opinion it's because public opinion is also what you feel to be true to you. Just because you agree with the group doesn't make you less of an individual. And because the world is full of so many people if everyone spoke the rude truth and always at all times people would simply be screaming at each other night and day and nothing would ever get done.
Consider the term “a foolish consistency.” What are some examples of “foolish consistencies” you can think of? (Here’s one to get you started: In the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, a person insists the Earth is flat.) Why do “little statesmen” (little politicians) adore foolish consistencies?
I read in a book somewhere that the reason gold is worth so much money is because it is pretty and people put a value on that a long time ago. Gold is actually a terrible conductor of electricity and it doesn't hold its shape very well over time and it's not very hard. So when people say something has “the gold standard”you have to almost laugh because that means it's flimsy doesn't hold its shape well and only worth what we tell people it's worth because it is pretty. Another foolish consistency is the idea that were going to “table something” which means that they plan to talk about it at a later date after they receive more information. In reality this really means” I don't feel like talking about this now let's move on this is stupid” but no one ever actually says that.
What kind of travelling is a “fool’s paradise”?
If you go around the globe with the intention to study and look at fine art and discover something he believes that's a good idea but if you travel just to be amused or to get away from yourself then you are in a traveling “fools paradise” you're never going to find what you're looking for just by being someplace else you bring all your worries and troubles with you.
How is a man “weaker by every recruit to his banner”? It might be helpful here to think of your favorite—or least favorite—politician. How is that politician made weaker by everyone who joins his/her side?
Emerson believes that people become weaker when they are in a group. He believes that when you are alone it is when you are the strongest. I do not believe this is true at all but Emerson believes that when a great leader like Martin Luther King is standing alone talking he is more powerful than when a huge group that believes in his words go with him and they all go someplace together somehow that makes Martin Luther King less powerful, again I don't believe this myself, but Emerson seem to believe that this was true.