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In an 1841 essay, American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered a stirring call for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency and to follow their own instincts and ideas. It contains one of Emerson’s most famous quotations: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Self-Reliance, possibly Emerson’s most famous essay, is an investigation into the nature of the “aboriginal self on which a universal reliance may be grounded.” It was first published in his 1841 collection, Essays: First Series. Emerson helped start the beginning of the Transcendentalist movement in America.

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