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self reliance

Explain Emerson's quote: "No law can be sacred to me ...the only wrong what is against it." Is it ever accetaptable for people to follow the law of...


This quote is from a paragraph that really explains the meat of Emerson's essay and one of the most important tenets of transcendentalism.  It is from the paragraph that starts "whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist" and it means the same thing as that famous line does.

What it means is that only your own conscience can be sacred to you.  Laws made by society are not what should bind you -- only what you believe is right.

Is it acceptable to do this?  Well, it would make for chaos if everyone did it AND if they all had very different ideas.  But we honor some who do it, like Martin Luther King, Jr.  So it seems that it is sometimes acceptable to follow Emerson's prescription for how to live one's life.

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