„difficulty“ Essay Essay Sample
„Their influence is proportionate. As objects of science, they are accessible to few men. Yet all men are capable of being raised by piety or by passion, into their region. And no man touches these divine natures, without becoming, in some degree, himself divine. Like a new soul, they renew the body. We become physically nimble and lightsome; we tread on air; life is no longer irksome, and we think it will never be so. No man fears age or misfortune or death, in their serene company, for he is transported out of the district of change. Whilst we behold unveiled the nature of Justice and Truth, we learn the difference between the absolute and the conditional or relative. We apprehend the absolute. As it were, for the first time, we exist. We become immortal, for we learn that time and space are relations of matter; that, with a perception of truth, or a virtuous will, they have no affinity“ (Emerson 18).
The problem about the passage I chose is that it is not very clear why man becomes divine in contact with nature. I find this provocative and intriguing. Throughout the whole text Emerson explains that there is Unity in the Universe and that there are two things that matter. Those are Nature and the Soul. Man gives meaning to the nature and vice versa. Even language is the verbal description of what exists in nature. Therefore, everything is unity. However, there is the question of what exactly is divine.
Man becomes divine in interaction with nature and because of its influence. The origin of man is nature, he is only a species and all species are similar. There is also a natural order of things in the world. Nature is the ultimate truth and everything it contains ca be used by men. Also, men is not supposed to understand it, but to be part of it. Emerson believes that poetry can perceive nature better than science. Even dreams go beyond reality. There is a question why man becomes fearless and feels immortal because of nature. People wonder how to grasp the absolute and how it is different than relative. Nature seems to be something absolute in relation to man and he can truly exist only in accordance with it.
Emerson says that „whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy“ (Emerson 1). It means that there are no unanswerable questions and that the order of things is such that the man is in the center of it. There is reaction to every action in the Universe, and all motion is perpetual.
Science wants to classify things, but it is not possible. That, which is divine, cannot be explained by physics or any other discipline. Even human body is part of nature. That is logical, because when people die, their bodies decompose and become integrated with soil. The Soul is also part of the Universe and that is where human soul goes. Body and soul differ, but they are united at some point. However, everything in Universe is interconnected, and therefore, if nature is divine, so are human beings as parts of it.
Emerson talks about art throughout the text. It is merely the imitation of nature, but it is also the means of getting closer to divinity. „The creation of beauty is Art“ (Emerson 6). Beauty is also a divine category. It is not something that can be possessed, but it can be duplicated through the means of a poet or an artist.
„The standard of beauty is the entire circuit of natural forms, -- the totality of nature“ (Emerson 7). Totality also means unity and the Universe has to be understood as a whole because „a single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace“ (Emerson 7). All of this implies that the Universe is divine and therefore, man is also divine when in unity with nature.
There is a parallel between the Universe and man. The Universe is composed of Nature and Soul, and man is composed of body and soul. When he dies, his body is united with nature and his soul with the universal soul. That is why man becomes divine and eternal in contact with nature.
This passage is particularly important to the text as a whole because it sums up Emerson's idea. His main point is that all things that exist in the world influence each other. That way they pass their characteristics to one another and in the end everything is in accordance with the natural order of things.
Even language is derived from nature. Everything that exists in human mind previously existed in nature. „Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact“ (Emerson 7). There are many proverbs that prove this. Men are compared to animals or natural elements according to some mutual characteristics. There is nothing inside man that is not outside him also.
„Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us“ (Emerson 15). It means that when man reaches for the Universe, he gets the answer and he is influenced by it. The world as a whole is a place inhabited by humans, and everything that exists in human mind is divine without the need for further explanation by science. A pair of eyes serves better than a microscope.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Oregon State University. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.