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Destruction Of Nature Essay By Ralph

Emerson's Essay - Nature

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Emerson's Essay - Nature


Emerson's essay, Nature is essentially one that seeks show a new form of enlightening the human spirit and urges the establishment of a stronger link between man and the Universal Spirit through. Emerson sees nature as this inspiration to people and catalyst for a deeper understanding of the spiritual world.


In the opening paragraphs of his first chapter, Emerson finds that nature, like stars is always present and creates a reverence in the observer, but is also always inaccessible (14). Emerson also brings forth the idea that not everyone can really observe nature, but one must have the correct mental/spiritual state, as a child might. He discusses the improving aspects one can find in nature - youth, reason, and faith. Intrigued by visual perceptions, he claims that he looses contact with everything but nature becomes a 'transparent eye-ball' and feels that "I am part or parcel of God" (16). Emerson's emphatic words are perhaps the best description of the enthralling emotions of a 'sublime' experience as possible.


Throughout the other chapters, Emerson explores the idea of nature as instructor to man and how man can learn from nature. He repeatedly says that nature is a divine creation of God and through it man can learn to be closer to god. However, despite the reverence, awe, and prerequisite mental status, he also presents the concept of nature being 'below' and man on a 'Scala Natura ' of sorts. Although man seen as connected to and part of nature, for he questions if we can "separate the man from the living picture" of nature (26), he finds that nature is nothing without human interpretation because "All facts in natural history taken by themselves have not value . . .. but marry it to human history, and it is full of life," (33). However, there appears to be some more complicated interactions between nature and humans because human language, arguably one of the most important inventions/discoveries in our history is immediately dependent on nature (35). In a chapter titled Discipline, Emerson states that 'nature is thoroughly mediate. It is made to serve," (45). Emerson believes that the human form is superior to all other organizations which appear to be degradations of it (50).

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Despite nature being inferior to humans, it is still an "incarnation of God, a projection of God in the unconscious" (68). This description is somewhat reminiscent of the idea of man made in the image of the creator. Emerson also presents the idea that in addition to instructing in the moral laws which "lie(s) at the centre of nature and radiates to the circumference," (47), nature can be used as a sort of yardstick for spiritual improvement as, "we are as much strangers in nature as we are aliens from God," (69).

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