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Dance to the beat of your own drummer A piece of advice that I have been told my whole life and have tried my hardest to follow The words were taken from Thoreaus quote If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau changed our lives How Well the answer is not so simple as the statement To understand fully how they affected our lives we have to understand the philosophy of Emerson and Thoreau and the relationship between the two So lets begin with the relationship between Emerson and Thoreau Emerson was born in 1803 into a family of ministers He went to Harvard where he studied theology and philosophy among other subjects It was at Harvard where Emerson discovered transendentalism and his career shifted paths He started to give lectures on his philosophy of life and the human spirit It was at one of these lectures that a young influential man by the name Thoreau first was introduced to Emerson Thoreau born in 1817 was the son of a pencil maker His mother ran a boarding house where she hosted many of the intellectuals of their time Thoreau attended Harvard as well and that was where he was introduced to Emerson He became fascinated with Emersons philosophy while sitting in on one of his lectures Emerson became Thoreaus mentor and advisor A relationship that soon deepened to a friendship Many people claim that Thoreaus ideas were simply taken from Emersons in fact some critics call Thoreau Emersons miror And although their philosophies greatly reflected one another they differed in many ways as well Emersons writing focused on nonconformity and individuality In his essay Self-Reliance he wrote Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind and Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist Emerson writings were
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