When we think of truth of the soul and virtue and life, it all comes down to what you see as the truth, which is faith, and faith is religion. Hes saying that we dont have enough self-reliance when it comes to religion. In other words, we follow the Christian or Buddhist or Muslim or Jewish or other path like sheep, our minds are like sponges that soak up so much of what views of what is right, according to society. He means that we often surrender to the things that are being shoved down our throats, so we have no room to trust ourselves.
He says we lie in the lap of extreme intelligence and truth, but we deny ourselves of that because we have no self-reliance. This doesnt just apply to religion. . . theres also being an individual when it comes to your education, the way you live your life and basically everything you do.
People that arent individuals surrender to laws and names and large groups of people and dead institutions in order to fit in with whats popular, or get money, or simply because were too intimidated to stand up for what we really feel is right. Basically, youre a sell-out, and as long as you stay a sell-out, well always feel lonely in our souls, unfulfilled, and feel totally separate from one another, because we suppress whats really inside us. Theres a quote by Emerson that brings it all down perfectly. He says that mans failure to see light is caused by standing in his own shadow. Bibliography:Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Self Reliance.
Adventures in American Literature: Pegasus Edition. Ed. Bernard Brodsky. Orlando: Harcourt, 1989.