Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Culture Summary & Analysis

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Culture Summary and Analysis

Culture is the mechanism that enables humans to modulate their instincts and to live together in harmony, according to Emerson. Culture develops out of the shared perception of benefits in society. Although culture—specifically the arts—is a product of individuals who contribute something of value out of their uniqueness, it is also threatened by an excess of egotism, Emerson says. Egotism is so common that it must be result of some primal instinct, such as sexual attraction which is linked to survival of the species, according to Emerson. "Nature has secured it [survival] at all hazards by immensely overloading the passion, at the risk of perpetual crime and disorder," Emerson observes.

Whereas the natural drive for survival has led plants and animals to find their own particular niche in nature to which they are confined, humans have the...

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This section contains 197 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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