February 19, 2013 – Self-Reliance and Individualism

Do you have a sense of imagination? Have you noticed a change in your creativity from the time you were little to now? What has changed? As a person grows older, they face more experiences and become accustomed to his or her own beliefs, norms, and values. A child has no worries in the world. Their biggest challenge is what color to make the school in their project. As people grow, more worries and challenges exist. These worries and challenges make a person create patterns and precautions to take every day. Imagination and creativity diminish as the years go on because adults are focusing on different, more involved problems in the “real world,” not allowing any room for an open-mind or creativity. Robert Fulghum provides the best example of how imagination decreases as he grew older. In “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” Fulghum states, “Each spring, for many years, I have set myself the task of writing a personal statement of belief: a Credo. When I was younger, the statement ran for many pages, trying to cover every base, with no loose ends. The Credo has grown shorter in recent years – sometimes cynical, sometimes comical, and sometimes bland.” Fulghum had a large amount of imagination when he was a child which allowed him to go on and on in his Credos. But as he grew older, his imagination decreased, taking away his very detailed Credos. Going through experiences as we grow fills our minds with meaningless information. Our minds become more and more complex, taking the creativity and imagination completely away. Some people go through a repetitive routine every single day and follow other people’s directions, not thinking for their selves. Without the creativity to create our own ideas and opinions, people become robots. Ralph Waldo Emerson discusses individualism in his essay “Self-Reliance.” Emerson states, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of event. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.” Emerson mentions childlike which relates to having creativity and imagination, and how even grown men should act “childlike” and be independent, not worrying about being like other people, following like a robot.