Idealism In Individualism

According to Self-Reliance , the ideal man is a man that follows no path besides his own. He trusts himself and his opinions regardless of what society believes. The ideal man is the true individual. Not a hermit who rejects the world, but a man that lives amongst people and always stays true to his principles. The author also writes about the qualities of youth in the ideal man. He writes in regards to youth, “…he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome. He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests; he gives an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him; he does not court you.” The ideal man must not get tangled in the web of other people’s opinions but must keep a youthful air about him. The author stresses the importance of man making his own way in the world, without the influence of others. The belief that a man must do what he feels the matter what truly to be happy. The author writes, “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” This point is fundamental to the structure of the ideal man. He must cut a new path in his life, or else he is “false in all particulars”. The author also writes about how the ideal man must not look to established institutions for answers. The author uses the argument that these institutions are the creations of past men. A man in the present must not look to these past ideas, but go forth into the dark and unknown with the light of himself to guide him. The author also writes how a man must not judge another man by the property he owns, but by his character and nature This image of the ideal man that the author puts forth in Self-Reliance reminds me of a Tarot card. The card is numberless or often numbered as 0 and is called “The Fool”. A brief description of the card is a youthful man with all his possessions on a stick on his shoulder stands on a precipice looking out into a great Valley. At his feet a small dog jumps at him but he doesn’t notice it. The meaning of the card is a man who is about to begin the journey of life. He has little to no possessions for he has no need of them. His gaze is outwards and he does not notice the nagging of the world at his feet, but keeps his gaze focused on his ideals. He is called the Fool because that is what people consider him. He is a visionary. He appears to be a fool because is not caught up in society. He is often called naïve and considered unaware, yet he is one of the wisest cards because of these very traits. The Fool is the individual untainted by others in the making of his own path in the world. I feel the Fool is very similar to the definition of an ideal man brought forth in this piece literature.