Essay on “Nature”, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Free Essay: The two authors Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, The Relationship between Man and Nature in Emerson and Thoreau . For instance, let's think about the ways in which God/gods were revered in the stories of. The motivation of this essay is to present how nature is seen in the great In the sequence, the connection between nature and human beings as well as the by the contact between these two representatives of God resides not in only one. Get an answer for 'What is the relationship between people, nature and God in In his inspiring essay, "Self-Reliance," Emerson urges men to distance.
This, of course, is a benefit which is temporary and mediate, not ultimate, like its service to the soul. Yet although low, it is perfect in its kind, and is the only use of nature which all men apprehend. The misery of man appears like childish petulance, when we explore the steady and prodigal provision that has been made for his support and delight on this green ball which floats him through the heavens.
What angels invented these splendid ornaments, these rich conveniences, this ocean of air above, this ocean of water beneath, this firmament of earth between?
Beasts, fire, water, stones, and corn serve him. The field is at once his floor, his work-yard, his play-ground, his garden, and his bed. Than he 'll take notice of. All the parts incessantly work into each other's hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man.
The useful arts are reproductions or new combinations by the wit of man, of the same natural benefactors. He no longer waits for favoring gales, but by means of steam, he realizes the fable of Aeolus's bag, and carries the two and thirty winds in the boiler of his boat. To diminish friction, he paves the road with iron bars, and, mounting a coach with a ship-load of men, animals, and merchandise behind him, he darts through the country, from town to town, like an eagle or a swallow through the air.
By the aggregate of these aids, how is the face of the world changed, from the era of Noah to that of Napoleon! The private poor man hath cities, ships, canals, bridges, built for him. He goes to the post-office, and the human race run on his errands; to the book-shop, and the human race read and write of all that happens, for him; to the court-house, and nations repair his wrongs. He sets his house upon the road, and the human race go forth every morning, and shovel out the snow, and cut a path for him.
But there is no need of specifying particulars in this class of uses. He believed that if man lived in harmony with nature, he would find true happiness with himself.
According to Emerson, few adult people can see nature. The majority of people see nature in a superficial way. Children are much more opened to the presence of the sublime. Sublime is calm, spiritual experiences that can arise, mainly, in contact with nature. Man retires as much from society as from nature. SHE is perfect and all her beauty and perfection make man lose his curiosity. He becomes astonished facing nature.
Nature and man are connected. Both were created by God. Emerson sees nature as a representative of the divine mind exactly in the same way as human beings are. Nevertheless, the man, when he is still a child, can see nature in a truly and wide manner. Then, he grows up and cannot see nature in this way. Emerson states that the same symbols form the original elements of all languages. And the moving power of idiomatic language and of the strong speech of simple men reminds us of the first dependence of language upon nature.
Modern man's ability to express himself effectively requires simplicity, love of truth, and desire to communicate efficiently. But because we have lost the sense of its origins, language has been corrupted. The man who speaks with passion or in images — like the poet or orator who maintains a vital connection with nature — expresses the workings of God.
Finally, Emerson develops the idea that the whole of nature — not just its particulate verbal expressions — symbolizes spiritual reality and offers insight into the universal.
He writes of all nature as a metaphor for the human mind, and asserts that there is a one-to-one correspondence between moral and material laws.
All men have access to understanding this correspondence and, consequently, to comprehending the laws of the universe. Emerson employs the image of the circle — much-used in Nature — in stating that the visible world is the "terminus or circumference of the invisible world.
Summary and Analysis
Man may grasp the underlying meaning of the physical world by living harmoniously with nature, and by loving truth and virtue. Emerson concludes "Language" by stating that we understand the full meaning of nature by degrees. Nature as a discipline — a means of arriving at comprehension — forms the subject of Chapter V, "Discipline. The ultimate result of such lessons is common sense.
Emerson offers property and debt as materially based examples that teach necessary lessons through the understanding, and space and time as demonstrations of particularity and individuality, through which "we may know that things are not huddled and lumped, but sundered and individual. The wise man recognizes the innate properties of objects and men, and the differences, gradations, and similarities among the manifold natural expressions. The practical arts and sciences make use of this wisdom.
But as man progressively grasps the basic physical laws, he comes closer to understanding the laws of creation, and limiting concepts such as space and time lose their significance in his vision of the larger picture. Emerson emphasizes the place of human will — the expression of human power — in harnessing nature.
Nature is made to serve man. We take what is useful from it in forming a sense of the universe, giving greater or lesser weight to particular aspects to suit our purposes, even framing nature according to our own image of it.
Emerson goes on to discuss how intuitive reason provides insight into the ethical and spiritual meanings behind nature. Moreover, the uses of particular facets of nature as described in "Commodity" do not exhaust the lessons these aspects can teach; men may progress to perception of their higher meaning as well. Emerson depicts moral law as lying at the center of the circle of nature and radiating to the circumference.
He asserts that man is particularly susceptible to the moral meaning of nature, and returns to the unity of all of nature's particulars. Each object is a microcosm of the universe.
Thoreau, Emerson, and Transcendentalism
Through analogies and resemblances between various expressions of nature, we perceive "its source in Universal Spirit. Emerson builds upon his circle imagery to suggest the all-encompassing quality of universal truth and the way it may be approached through all of its particulars. Unity is even more apparent in action than in thought, which is expressed only imperfectly through language.
Action, on the other hand, as "the perfection and publication of thought," expresses thought more directly. Because words and conscious actions are uniquely human attributes, Emerson holds humanity up as the pinnacle of nature, "incomparably the richest informations of the power and order that lie at the heart of things.
As an expression of nature, humanity, too, has its educational use in the progression toward understanding higher truth. At the beginning of Chapter VI, "Idealism," Emerson questions whether nature actually exists, whether God may have created it only as a perception in the human mind. Having stated that the response to this question makes no difference in the usefulness of nature as an aid to human comprehension of the universal, Emerson concludes that the answer is ultimately unknowable.
Whether real or not, he perceives nature as an ideal. Even if nature is not real, natural and universal laws nevertheless apply. However, the common man's faith in the permanence of natural laws is threatened by any hint that nature may not be real. The senses and rational understanding contribute to the instinctive human tendency to regard nature as a reality.
Men tend to view things as ultimates, not to look for a higher reality beyond them. But intuitive reason works against the unquestioned acceptance of concrete reality as the ultimate reality.
Intuition counteracts sensory knowledge, and highlights our intellectual and spiritual separateness from nature. As the intuition is increasingly awakened, we begin to perceive nature differently, to see the whole, the "causes and spirits," instead of individual forms.
Emerson explores idealism at length. He first points out that a change in perspective is caused by changes in environment or mechanical alterations such as viewing a familiar landscape from a moving railroad carwhich heighten the sense of the difference between man and nature, the observer and the observed.Natural Law Theory: Crash Course Philosophy #34
Altered perspective imparts a feeling that there is something constant within man, even though the world around him changes, sometimes due to his own action upon it. Emerson then discusses the way in which the poet communicates his own power over nature. The poet sees nature as fluid and malleable, as raw material to shape to his own expressive purposes.
Inspired by intuition and imagination, he enhances and reduces facets of nature according to his creative dictates. He provides an ideal interpretation of nature that is more real than concrete nature, as it exists independent of human agency. The poet, in short, asserts "the predominance of the soul" over matter. Emerson looks to philosophy, science, religion, and ethics for support of the subordination of matter to spirit. He does not uniformly approve of the position assigned to nature by each of these disciplines, but nevertheless finds that they all express an idealistic approach to one degree or another.
He points out that although the poet aims toward beauty and the philosopher toward truth, both subject the order and relations within nature to human thought in order to find higher absolutes, laws, and spiritual realities. Scientists, too, may elevate the spiritual over the material in going beyond the accumulation of particulars to a single, encompassing, enlightening formula.
And although they distrust nature, traditional religion and ethics also promote the spiritual and moral over the physical.
In "Idealism," Emerson again takes up the capacity of all men to grasp the ideal and universal. Intellectual inquiry casts doubt upon the independent existence of matter and focuses upon the absolute and ideal as a higher reality. It encourages approaching nature as "an appendix to the soul" and a means of access to God. Although these complex ideas are expressed by specialists in "intellectual science," they are nevertheless available to all. And when any man reaches some understanding of divinity, he becomes more divine and renews himself physically as well as spiritually.